Showers Stall - El Nino Watch Issued by NOAA
Traffic is so bad my detour needed a detour. Google Maps looks like the aftermath of a troubled toddler wielding a red crayon. Much like Los Angeles, rain adds a sloppy wildcard to our commutes.
Weather patterns slow down during the summer, as the core of the jet stream lifts north into Canada. This can result in stalled storms and biblical flooding, especially during June.
A cold swirl of air stuck several miles overhead will keep showery rain in the forecast for southern Minnesota into Friday morning, with partial clearing and low 80s this weekend, when the best chance of random pop-up T-storms will come over northern Minnesota.
While we grumble about puddles and potholes allow me to share some potentially good news for any readers traumatized by last winter's 78 inches of snow. NOAA has issued an El Nino Watch; a 65 percent chance a warm phase of the Pacific Ocean will kick in by winter. El Nino correlates with milder (drier) winters in Minnesota, although there are exceptions to every rule.
Next winter is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle. Enjoy today's sloppy cool front!
El Nino Watch. According to NOAA CPC (Climate Prediction Center) there is a 50% probability of an El Nino warm phase developing by autumn; a 65% probability of a warm phase in the Pacific next winter. El Ninos correlate with generally milder (drier) winters for Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, but there are exceptions to every rule.
Heating Up Again in Early July. We catch a break from the heat into early next week, but long range guidance builds a massive high pressure ridge over the southern and central USA by the 4th of July; expanding into Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Expect another run of 90s within 2 weeks or so.
Praedictix Briefing: Issued Tuesday morning, June 19th, 2018:
- Heavy rain bands have continued to move across parts of Southeastern Texas this morning, bringing rainfall rates of up to three inches per hour in spots. Already over 6” of rain has fallen in the past 24 hours in Beaumont.
- Rounds of heavy rain will continue across the Texas Gulf Coast through the middle of the week. Additional rainfall amounts of at least 3-7” will be possible across the region. The highest totals are expected along the coast and in the Northeastern Coastal Bend, where rainfall totals could be in excess of 10” through Wednesday. Due to the heavy rain potential, Flash Flood Watches are now in effect across Southeastern Texas.
Past 24 Hour Rainfall. Bands of heavy rain have been rotating in from the Gulf of Mexico across portions of Southeastern Texas over the past 24 hours as a mid-level low sits over southern Texas. Beaumont received 5.89" of rain on Monday, setting a new record for the day. Looking at 24-hour rainfall totals, Beaumont has received 6.71" through 6 AM Tuesday, with 2.54" falling in Galveston, 2.43" in Houston and 2.27" in Corpus Christi.
Heavy Rain Forecast. With tropical moisture in place across southern Texas, heavy rain will continue through at least Wednesday. An additional widespread 2-7” of rain is expected to fall through the next couple of days across parts of Southeastern Texas, including in Houston and Corpus Christi. The heaviest totals are expected along the coast and in the Northeastern Coastal Bend, where rainfall totals could be in excess of 10” in areas like Port Lavaca. Map credit: AerisWeather and Praedictix.
Flash Flood Watches. Due to the widespread rain expected across Southeastern Texas, Flash Flood Watches have been issued. Rainfall rates of up to 3" per hour due to training storms could lead to swaths of flash flooding across the region. Looking at select cities:
- Beaumont is under the Flash Flood Watch through this afternoon. Additional rainfall of at least 1-2” is expected through the afternoon hours today.
- Houston and Galveston are under the Flash Flood Watch through this evening. A widespread 1-3” of rain is expected, with localized amounts of 4-6” possible.
- Corpus Christi and Victoria are under the Flash Flood Watch through Wednesday afternoon. Rainfall amounts of 7-11” are expected for areas like Corpus Christi, Sinton, and Beeville.
Summary. Tropical moisture in association with a mid-level low will continue to bring rounds of heavy rain across the Texas Gulf Coast through at least Wednesday. Additional rainfall totals of 3-7”+ can be expected across a wide swath of Southeastern Texas, with totals in excess of 10” possible along the coast and in the Northeastern Coastal Bend. Flash Flood Watches are now in effect for the potential of heavy rain.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix
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: accuweather.com.
Some Survivors of Category 5 Hurricane Irma Want a Category 6. NPR has the story; here's a clip: "...But, he and many others in the Virgin Islands believe Irma should have been designated as a Category 6 storm. Currently, the Saffir-Simpson scale, developed in the early '70s by two scientists after whom it was named, only goes up to Category 5, for storms with winds of 157 mph or higher. Scientists say there's evidence hurricanes are getting stronger because of climate change. A new study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research says with rising global temperatures, hurricanes may bring more rain, move more slowly and have higher wind speeds. With that in mind, Mike Mann, an atmospheric science professor at Penn State University, thinks it's time to add a new designation, Category 6, to describe more powerful hurricanes, like Irma..."
File image: September 7 image of Hurricane Irma courtesy of NOAA.
Rising Seas Could Wipe Out $1 Trillion Worth of U.S. Houses and Businesses. The extended outlook calls for a slow retreat from many coastal communities. Eric Holthaus reports on new research at Grist: "Some 2.4 million American homes and businesses worth more than $1 trillion are at risk of “chronic inundation” by the end of the century, according to a report out Monday. That’s about 15 percent of all U.S. coastal real estate, or roughly as much built infrastructure as Houston and Los Angeles combined. The sweeping new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists is the most comprehensive analysis of the risks posed by sea level rise to the United States coastal economy. Taken in context with the lack of action to match the scale of the problem, it describes a country plowing headlong into a flood-driven financial crisis of enormous scale..."
File image: Matt Merrifield, AP.
Sea Level Rise Threatens Over 300,000 U.S. Homes, Says Report. The Daily Beast has the details: "Sea-level rise driven by climate change is set to destroy U.S. coastal communities, according to new research, with as many as 311,000 homes facing floods every two weeks within the next 30 years. The rising oceans are set to repeatedly flood residences by 2045 if greenhouse-gas emissions aren’t severely cut, the experts warn. “The impact could well be staggering,” said Kristina Dahl, climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “This level of flooding would be a tipping point where people in these communities would think it’s unsustainable. Even homes along the Gulf Coast that are elevated would be affected, as they’d have to drive through saltwater to get to work or face their kids’ school being cut off. You can imagine people walking away from mortgages, away from their homes...”
Photo credit: John Sommers II / Reuters.
Flooding Surges in U.S. Coastal Cities, Thanks to Relentlessly Rising Sea Levels. A story summary at Minnpost caught my eye: "Last year was a record-breaker for flooding in cities along the U.S. coasts, according to a new federal assessment — and the horrific trio of hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma wasn’t really the problem. The analysis, issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week, looked closely at flooding in nearly 100 locations around the country, as measured by tide gauges that have been in place for a century or so. And there was plenty of flooding outside the hurricane zones, much of it chronic and attributable to rising sea levels. Some was driven by lesser storms, like the nor’easters of last February and March. But in nearly half the cases, weather was considered a minor contributor or no factor at all..."
Photo credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder. "In the “flood year” running from May 2017 through last April, about one-fourth of coastal cities tied or broke their previous record for tidal flooding; leading that list were Boston, above, and Atlantic City."
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.
Tornado Tourism Booms Despite Despite Storm Season. U.S. News delves into the wild world of super-sized storm chasing: "...One specific place that has benefited from the lack of severe weather in 2018 is the "Twister" Museum in Wakita, Oklahoma, as chasers head there on slow weather days. The museum opened immediately after the release of the 1996 film, which made $500 million at the box office and inspired thousands of future chasers. "'Twister' was just such a big economic boost for us and it wouldn't have been possible without the storm chasers," says Linda Wade, who serves as head of the museum. "It's just really hard to believe. It brings taxes, it brings economic benefits to our businesses and keeps our banks open, so it's been very helpful in the long run." The museum, a little more than 100 miles from Oklahoma City, remains an active spot for chasers and severe weather enthusiasts to pay homage to the movie that inspired them through its protagonist, the late actor Bill Paxton..."
Photo credit: Brett Ziegler for USN&WR.
"We Just Drove Straight to the Storm". CU Boulder Flies Drones in Supercell Storms. You could definitely see this coming! Here's an excerpt of an interesting article at Boulder Daily Camera: "...It's still very much an open question of: Why does this type of storm become a tornado?" Frew said. "Most of the strong, violent tornadoes are created from supercell thunderstorms, but very few supercell thunderstorms create tornadoes. You know what storms to go study, but you still don't know why they do or don't produce tornadoes." The CU team members brought three yellow drones — named Twistors — they built to collect the data the meteorologists requested: the pressure, temperature and humidity of the air and the speed and direction of the wind. The drones look like small airplanes and have propellers on each wing. Sensors are embedded in the nose of the plane, and a video camera is embedded in the tail..."
7 Years After Joplin Tornado, Mercy Builds Hospitals With Disasters in Mind. Every threat is an opportunity, as narrated by St. Louis Public Radio: "...What you’re asking is did the structure, and the elements that make up the structure, they perform to a level that the patients can survive the storm,” Gould said. “You’re asking a lot more of a structure than you would in a typical building.” The windows Mercy designed for Joplin are so strong, Farnen said they are essentially “bulletproof.” “We tested some of the glass in Joplin with the fire department … they decided they couldn’t get through the glass and they would have to go through the building to get to the patient,” he said. The new hospital wing in Festus doesn’t house critical patients, so instead it has the next level of windows: laminated safety glass that can withstand winds of more than 100 miles an hour..."
Photo credit: "The scene outside the St. John's after the Joplin 2011 tornado. The building was one of the only structures in the tornado's path left standing." Credit Mercy Hospital.
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..."
Viruses Love What We've Done With the Planet. Quartz explains the paradox: "...Viruses have a straightforward mission: enter cells, reproduce, burst forth, and repeat. The constant copying eventually destroys so many cells, whatever living thing is acting as the virus’s host will fall ill. That’d be one thing—bad, but not devastating—if these viruses stayed the same as they perpetuated. Then we could likely, eventually, create vaccines for all of the viruses that infect humans. But, as viruses copy themselves using the machinery of their host’s cells, they constantly mutate. Inevitably, some of these mutations are advantageous, enabling the virus to, for example, spread faster or infect a new type of host. Thanks to mutations, there are over 200 “zoonotic” viruses that can jump between animals and humans, including notorious infections like HIV, Ebola, hepatitis, hanta virus, and several strains of the flu. These are the ones we’re not ready for..."
File photo credit: "Thanks to us, Ebola has lots of places to live." (NIAID)
The Next Plague is Coming. Is America Ready? The short answer appears to be no. Here's a clip from a little light reading at The Atlantic: "...On average, in one corner of the world or another, a new infectious disease has emerged every year for the past 30 years: mers, Nipah, Hendra, and many more. Researchers estimate that birds and mammals harbor anywhere from 631,000 to 827,000 unknown viruses that could potentially leap into humans. Valiant efforts are under way to identify them all, and scan for them in places like poultry farms and bushmeat markets, where animals and people are most likely to encounter each other. Still, we likely won’t ever be able to predict which will spill over next; even long-known viruses like Zika, which was discovered in 1947, can suddenly develop into unforeseen epidemics..."
Photo credit: Jonno Rattman.
The World May Soon Be Awash in Advanced, Lethal Drones. Well, that's lovely. The Center for Public Integrity has details: "U.S. military forces face a growing threat from sophisticated and often deadly drones, due to the broad proliferation of related weapons and surveillance technologies that until recently have largely been in the hands of friendly countries, according to a new report prepared for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The global spread of these technologies was supposed to be controlled by a system of export controls created by the West to block the spread of advanced missiles, but that system has failed to obstruct the development of drones that have potent surveillance and destructive power by potential American adversaries, the report says. Countries like China, Russia, Iran, and even the United Arab Emirates are not only producing lethal drones but in some cases exporting both the drones and their underlying technologies..."
File photo: uavglobal.com.
IBM's Machine Argues, Pretty Convincingly, With Humans. Do we really need more arguing at this point? BBC reports: "On a stage in San Francisco, IBM’s Project Debater spoke, listened and rebutted a human’s arguments in what was described as a groundbreaking display of artificial intelligence. The machine drew from a library of “hundreds of millions” of documents - mostly newspaper articles and academic journals - to form its responses to a topic it was not prepared for beforehand. Its performance was not without slip-ups, but those in attendance made clear their thoughts when voting on who did best. While the humans had better delivery, the group agreed, the machine offered greater substance in its arguments..."
Image credit: "Project Debater: Watch IBM's new AI argument machine in action."
Comparing Average IQ In All 50 States. A few surprises here....California is 48th? Minnesota is #5. Inc.com has the story: "People are getting dumber, according to science. There are a lot of theories why IQ tests are falling. Some say it's bad food, poor schools, or obscene amounts of screen time. Others suggest it's a matter of people with lower IQs having more kids, who inherit their lower numbers. You've seen Idiocracy, right? The thing is, there's a lot of variation among the U.S. states in terms of IQ averages. So while the nation as a whole averages roughly a 98 IQ, individual states range as much as six points higher or four points below the national average..."
Manufactured Confusion in the World of Soccer. The BBC has a curious story: "South Korea's coach, Shin Tae-yong, says he made his players wear different numbered shirts in recent matches to confuse opponents who he says cannot tell them apart… "We switched them around because we didn't want to show our opponents everything and to try and confuse them," said Shin. "They might know a few of our players but it is very difficult for Westerners to distinguish between Asians and that's why we did that..."
File photo: The Korea Herald.
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.
70 F. high yesterday.
80 F. average high on June 19.
74 F. high on June 19, 2017.
.59" rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.
June 20, 1992: Abnormally cold conditions occur across the north. Temperatures drop to 26 at Embarrass, MN and Hayward, WI, but the cold spot is 24 at Brimson, MN.
"It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
WEDNESDAY: Sun north, showers south. Winds: NE 8-13. High: 75
WEDNESDAY NIGHT: More showers possible south of St. Cloud. Low: 62
THURSDAY: Ditto. Rain south, blue sky up north. Winds: E 8-13. High: 73
FRIDAY: Showers taper, clearing and milder. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 63. High: near 80
SATURDAY: Warm sunshine, few T-storms north. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 64. High: 83
SUNDAY: Lukewarm sun, isolated PM T-storm? Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 63. High: 81
MONDAY: Showers and T-storms increase late. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 65. High: 82
TUESDAY: Showers and T-storms, some heavy. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 64. High: 77
* I snapped the photo above over the southern tip of Greenland, flying back from Amsterdam on Sunday.
Global Warming Cooks Up a Different World Over 3 Decades. AP News has the story and some perspective: "On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, James Hansen told Congress and the world that global warming wasn’t approaching — it had already arrived. The testimony of the top NASA scientist, said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, was “the opening salvo of the age of climate change.” Thirty years later, it’s clear that Hansen and other doomsayers were right. But the change has been so sweeping that it is easy to lose sight of effects large and small — some obvious, others less conspicuous. Earth is noticeably hotter, the weather stormier and more extreme. Polar regions have lost billions of tons of ice; sea levels have been raised by trillions of gallons of water. Far more wildfires rage. Over 30 years — the time period climate scientists often use in their studies in order to minimize natural weather variations — the world’s annual temperature has warmed nearly 1 degree (0.54 degrees Celsius), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And the temperature in the United States has gone up even more — nearly 1.6 degrees..."
Photo credit: "In this Dec. 5, 2017 file photo, smoke rises behind a destroyed apartment complex as a wildfire burns in Ventura, Calif. In the 30 years since 1988, the number of acres burned in the U.S. by wildfires has doubled." AP photo: Noah Berger, File.
Climate Change May Already Be Hitting the Housing Market. A story at Bloomberg shows recent trends: "...Between 2007 and 2017, average home prices in areas facing the lowest risk of flooding, hurricanes and wildfires have far outpaced those with the greatest risk, according to figures compiled for Bloomberg News by Attom Data Solutions, a curator of national property data. Homes in areas most exposed to flood and hurricane risk were worth less last year, on average, than a decade earlier...Asaf Bernstein, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder who has studied the drop in home prices associated with sea-level rise, said it’s not surprising that home values would be affected by other types of climate risk. “It’s not a question of if,” Bernstein said. “It’s a question of when.”
In a Warming World, Deadly Bacteria Are More Resistant to Antibiotics. Here's another little day-brightener, courtesy of Nexus Media: "...But his near-death experience from a superbug he picked up in a warm country — an organism that also has afflicted many hospitalized wounded troops in Iraq and Kuwait — raises provocative questions about drug-resistant bacteria and their relationship to our increasingly hotter planet. “Travelers returning from tropical and other warm areas where multi-drug resistant pathogens have become more widespread will increasingly challenge the antibiotics on our shelves,” said Robert T. Schooley, an infectious diseases specialist at UC San Diego, who treated Patterson. “Turning up the temperature of the incubator in which we live will clearly speed the evolutionary clock of bacterial and other pathogens with which we must co-exist...”
File photo: E. coli bacteria. Source: NIAID
TV Meteorologists Unite for Climate Change on the Summer Solstice. Meteorologist Marshall Shepherd has a post at Forbes: "Surprisingly, there are a small percentage of TV meteorologists that express skepticism on climate change. The American Meteorological Society (AMS), George Mason University, and others have studied the reasons why, and I will say more about that later. This is particularly worrisome because TV meteorologists are the only scientists the average public citizen will see on a daily basis. Many people, myself included, recognize that TV colleagues, though only about 8% of the meteorology field according to the AMS, are great sources for climate change news and education. And by the way, the majority of the public thinks that every meteorologist is on TV anyhow (smile). Every meteorologist that I know, irrespective of the sector of the field they work, has gotten this question, "So what channel are you on?" On the June 21, 2018 Summer Solstice, over 100 meteorologists will wear an item of clothing like the tie below. The effort is called #MetsUnite. Keep reading for what the pattern on the tie indicates..."
Climate Change May Spark Global "Fish Wars" Thanks to Warming Waters. Here's a clip from a National Geographic article: "...Welcome to the climate-change food threat you may not have considered. In many parts of the world overfishing is already draining the ocean of important sea life. But a paper published today in the journal Science suggests potentially explosive ocean fish wars are likely to simmer across the world as warming temperatures drive commercial fish species poleward into territories controlled by other nations, setting up conflicts with sometimes hostile neighbors that are suddenly forced to share. That could lead to far fewer fish, economic declines and, in some areas, serious threats to food security. "I've got a 3-year-old son, and sometimes it seems like he's better at sharing than countries are with fisheries," says lead author Malin Pinsky, an assistant professor of biology at Rutgers University in New Jersey..."
Minnesota Temperature Trends in June Since 1895. Although the warming signal is most pronounced during late winter and early spring, Junes are trending warmer, statewide, according to data from NOAA NCDC.
Capitalism is Killing the Planet and Needs to Change. So says investor Jeremy Grantham, who has a history of getting it right. We have privatized profits and socialized costs, when it comes to pollution of all types, including long-term CO2 and methane pollution. CNBC has more: "Jeremy Grantham, the longtime investor famous for calling the last two major bubbles in the market, is urging capitalists and "mainstream economists" to recognize the looming threat of climate change. "Capitalism and mainstream economics simply cannot deal with these problems. Mainstream economics largely ignore [them]," Grantham, who co-founded GMO in 1977, said Tuesday in an impassioned speech at the Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago. "We deforest the land, we degrade our soils, we pollute and overuse our water and we treat air like an open sewer, and we do it all off the balance sheet." This negligence is due in large part to how short-sighted corporations can be, Grantham said. "Anything that happens to a corporation over 25 years out doesn't exist for them, therefore, as I like to say, grandchildren have no value" to them, he said..."
Antarctica Ice Loss Has Tripled in a Decade. If That Continues, We are in Serious Trouble. Chris Mooney reports for The Washington Post: "Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at a rapidly increasing rate, now pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually and raising sea levels a half-millimeter every year, a team of 80 scientists reported Wednesday. The melt rate has tripled in the past decade, the study concluded. If the acceleration continues, some of scientists’ worst fears about rising oceans could be realized, leaving low-lying cities and communities with less time to prepare than they had hoped. The result also reinforces that nations have a short window — perhaps no more than a decade — to cut greenhouse-gas emissions if they hope to avert some of the worst consequences of climate change..."
Photo credit: "
Icebergs in the northern Weddell Sea off Antarctica." CreditJohn Sonntag/NASA.
Climate Visuals. Here's a site I just discovered that tries to frame the climate challenge in a way that better resonates: "The images that define climate change shape the way it is understood and acted upon. But polar bears, melting ice and arrays of smoke stacks don’t convey the urgent human stories at the heart of the issue. Based on international social research, Climate Visuals provides seven principles for a more diverse, relatable and compelling visual language for climate change..."