Hints of Early September in Late July

Considering the fact that we could be hiding from EF-2 tornadoes - or a battering fusillade of shingle-shredding hailstones - or wading through flooded streets - or enduring withering heat - we all have precious little to complain about.

After enduring the 6th hottest start to meteorological summer on record the weather pendulum is about to swing in the opposite direction. I predict a few complaints may come in late next week about unnecessarily cool weather. Up north I could see a few days near 70F up north; nights dipping into the 40s in the BWCA. Sweatshirt weather in late July? Why not.

D.J. Kayser at Praedictix calculates 52 nights in 2018 with a nighttime low warmer than 60F; the most on record at MSP. We were due for a correction.

Welcome to the wettest day of the week with over an inch of rain today. A few instability showers may spill over into Friday & Saturday; Sunday still appears to be the sunnier, drier day of the weekend.

An even cooler front arrives late next week, with a September-like start to August. After sweating out May, June and early July I'm OK with that.


32nd Anniversary of July 18, 1986 "KARE-11" Tornado. You remember, right? The tornado that was tracked via helicopter, live, during the 5 PM newscast? Sky-11 helicopter pilot Max Messmer and photographer Tom Empey beamed back incredible footage of the EF-2 tornado, which was on the ground for 16 minutes. A minor meteorological miracle: this nearly-stationary tornado hit a park, the Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley, which recently launched a new visitor center that documents that amazing day. Check out the video, courtesy of KARE-11 and TC Media Now: "The weather event that made KARE and Paul Douglas world famous (and respected). While shooting overhead footage of the Minneapolis Aquatennial on a hot muggy day on July 18, 1986 News11 pilot Max Messmer and photogtrapher Tom Empy discovered and shot live video of a tornado moving through Brooklyn Park. Paul Magers, Kirstin Lindquist, and Paul Douglas provided live coverage during some of the most vivid pictures of a tornado ever shot and broadcast live."


The Most Remarkable Day of My Meteorological Career? I don't remember much, but I remember the chain of events on July 18, 1986, when an EF-2 tornado touched down over Fridley during the 5 PM newscast on KARE-11. Here's an excerpt of a post I wrote for WCCO Radio: "I've been blessed to be able to turn a hobby, a passion - into a lifelong career. I've chased tornadoes, flown into the eye of Hurricane Frances, weathered raging blizzards, flash floods and wild storms that would make a grown man tremble, but NOTHING prepared me for what I would encounter coming to work on July 18, 1986, while working as Chief Meteorologist at KARE-11..."

Not Quite as Wet? The 00z NAM prints out closer to .5" for much of the metro, with over 1" of rain for far southern Minnesota. Grab an umbrella though - today should still be the wettest day of the week. Map: NOAA and pivotalweather.com.

2018: 4th Most Days Above 80F On Record at MSP. It's actually a tie, but according to NOAA data the Twin Cities have experienced 49 days above 80F so far this year; 75 days warmer than 75F.


Most Nights Milder Than 60F On Record, To Date. The same data set shows 52 nights with nighttime mins at or above 60F, the most since 1873. Data courtesy of NOAA and Praedictix meteorologist D.J. Kayser.



Comfortable Start to August. GFS guidance looking out 2 weeks (don't sell the farm just yet) suggests a cooler, drier pattern for late July and at least the first week of August. My strong hunch: heat will return by mid and late August.


Only 63 Tornado Watches Have Been Issued So Far in 2018, the Fewest in More Than 12 Years. Weather Underground has details: " The number of tornado watches that have been issued so far this year in the U.S. is the fewest to date in at least the past 13 years. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, which posts tornado and severe thunderstorm watches in the U.S., has issued only 63 tornado watches through July 9, according to Sam Lillo, a meteorologist at the University of Oklahoma. Tornado watches are put in place when atmospheric conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in a particular area. Lillo also noted that since 2007, the latest date that the 63rd tornado watch was issued was May 16 in 2016. This year, however, the 63rd tornado watch was not posted until July 1..."
 
Graphic credit: "Preliminary tornadoes for 2005-15 and 2018 through June 27. Note the actual tornado count for each year is lower." (NOAA/Storm Prediction Center)

Weather Radar Coverage for Western North Dakota Questioned After Tornado. The Grand Forks Herald follows up on questions raised after the Watford City, ND tornado: "...The closest Doppler radars to Watford City are near Minot and Glasgow, Mont., or 140 to 180 miles away. At that distance, the radars are detecting storms forming at least 10,000 feet above ground, said John Paul Martin, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck. Emergency manager Karolin Jappe is strongly advocating for a Doppler radar closer to McKenzie County, which leads the state in oil production and is home to massive oil storage tanks and several natural gas processing plants. "We're the epicenter of the oilfield, and we have so much risk here it's scary," Jappe said..."

Photo credit: "John Paul Martin, center, the warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Bismarck, talks on Tuesday, July 10, to Lt. Matthew Watkins and Capt. Mike Ficken, left, both of the McKenzie County Sheriff's Department, and McKenzie County Emergency Managers Karolin Jappy and Jerry Samuelson after determining an FE 2 tornado touched down in the early morning hours in Watford City." Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune.


Scorching Scandinavia: Record-Breaking Heat Hits Norway, Finland and Sweden. Jason Samenow reports for Capital Weather Gang: "An intense heat dome has swelled over Scandinavia, pushing temperatures more than 20 degrees above normal and spurring some of the region’s hottest weather ever recorded. Even as far north as the Arctic Circle, the mercury has come close to 90 degrees. Normally, temperatures in Scandinavia during July warm to the comfortable 60s and 70s. This week, they have soared into the mid-80s to lower 90s. On Tuesday, Finland, Sweden, and  Norway all saw temperatures reach at least 91 degrees (33 Celsius). Since Monday, several locations have approached or surpassed their highest temperatures observed any day or month of the year..."

Map credit: "Temperature difference from normal over Scandinavia Tuesday as simulated by European model." (WeatherBell.com)



How to Prepare Your Home and Pets for a Flood. Some good (timeless) advice in a post at good4utah.com: "...Learn about your community's flood response plan. Also, find out if your community has a flood warning system. Then, create a household plan and practice it. Purchase a battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible). Find out if you are located in a floodplain, which is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area. If so, you are still eligible for flood insurance. Check with your city or country government (start with the Building or Planning Department) to review the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, published by FEMA. Find out if local streams or rivers flood easily. Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged during a flood. Take pictures..."

Graphic credit: Climate Signals.


Rising Seas Could Cause Problems for Internet Infrastructure. No, not the internet! Here's an excerpt from a story at NPR: "The dense network of cables that make up the Internet is likely to be inundated with saltwater as sea levels rise, a new analysis suggests, putting thousands of miles of critical infrastructure along U.S. coastlines underwater in the next 15 years. "It is actually the wires and the hardware that make the Internet run," explains Ramakrishnan Durairajan, a computer scientist at the University of Oregon and an author of the research. The analysis estimates under the most severe model for sea level rise that more than 4,000 miles of fiber optic cable along U.S. coastlines will be underwater by the early 2030s. The Internet is particularly susceptible to flooding because data travels through underground cables buried along roadways and through tunnels..."

Map credit: "The most severe NOAA model of sea level rise shows areas that are projected to be underwater in New York (left) and Miami by 2033 in blue. Green lines represent fiber cables that deliver Internet." Paul Barford/UW-Madison.


Study: New England's Red Spruce Trees Are Recovering, Thanks to Pollution Laws. WBUR News has the story; here's a clip: "...Gene Likens first documented acid rain in the 1960s at the Hubbard Brook experimental forest in New Hampshire. Now in his 80s, Likens says the rain, snow and mist is 80 percent less acidic at that forest than at its highest levels 50 years ago. He says those early studies provided the groundwork for the 1990 Clean Air Act. "And that’s what science does," Likens says. "We ask questions and look for answers to those questions and then try to communicate that information to decision makers in hopes that actions can be taken." While the red spruce recovery is good news, other species like sugar maples growing on calcium poor sites are still threatened..."

Photo credit: "Scientist Alexandra Kosiba shows a core sample from a red spruce that shows strong growth over the last decade." (John Dillon/VPR)


British Economists Prove It: Sports Destroys Happiness. Huh? Follow the logic and data in this story at The Washington Post: "Sports make the world a sadder place. Seriously. We’ve got data. Armed with 3 million responses to a happiness monitoring app, plus the locations and times of several years worth of British soccer matches, University of Sussex economists Peter Dolton and George MacKerron calculated that the happiness that fans feel when their team wins is outweighed – by a factor of two – by the sadness that strikes when their team loses. Which means, assuming a roughly equal number of fans on both sides, Sunday’s World Cup final between France and Croatia made the world less happy than it was the day before. On net, soccer is a destroyer of happiness..."

Photo credit: "Japan's fans react after their country lost to Belgium in a knockout game in the 2018 World Cup in Russia." (Petr David Josek/AP)


How the Diderot Effect Explains Why You Buy Things You Don't Need. Self-medication through consumption? Imagine that. Here's an excerpt of an explanation at Big Think: "...In the case of Diderot himself, it leads to a vicious cycle of consumption that nearly bankrupted him. While this was an extreme case, made worse no doubt by being made suddenly well off after a lifetime of limited means, the rest of us still need to be wary of where one out of place purchase can lead. At the very least, the Diderot Effect can make us desire things we don’t need to provide a more seamless association between the things we have. As anybody who has bought a new shirt only to need new shoes, pants, and ties to match knows, this spending can get out of hand in a hurry. How can I avoid being taken in? As with many vicious cycles, the best thing to do is not start the cycle at all..."

Image credit: "Dennis Diderot as he probably looked during his brief stint in the middle class."


The World's Best Once-In-A-Lifetime Journeys. I love to travel and just added a few destinations to my bucket list. Check it out at FlightNetwork.com: "Welcome to the most definitive list of the World’s Best Journeys – a truly inspiring collection of the top 50 transformative trips every traveller must experience in their lifetime. This inspiring resource is an unparalleled guide to diverse and dynamic adventures with exhilarating activities in the most stunning, mystical, and culturally-rich lands on the planet. The World’s Best Journeys list for 2018 was created by a collaboration between Flight Network and 500+ of the world’s top travel journalists, agencies, bloggers, and editors – the ultimate insiders of international travel. This extensive collaboration produced the most thoughtful and detailed list of astonishing journeys – a list that will captivate and inspire travellers to embark on life changing adventures now, and for years to come..."


Will Quitting Social Media Hurt My Career? Check out an interesting post at Quartz: "...I worry that by deleting my social media accounts, I’ve damaged my résumé. But the thing is, I actually feel like a more effective, creative worker since I did precisely that. Deprivation of white noise forces you to notice silence. Immersion in our constructed universe of artwork and images and information, amplified by interaction with anyone at any time, can really feel like inhabiting a room full of people. But therein lies the issue; I wasn’t in a room full of people. And if I was, I was often more consumed by the universe in my lap than the one around me. That I can log into a network on my phone means I am, at least in that instant, denying the potential for the formation of a network in my vicinity..."

Photo credit: "Having a social media presence can seem like a prerequisite for employment." Reuters, Mario Anzuoni.


82 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.

84 F. average high on July 18.

82 F. high on July 18, 2017.

July 19, 1987: The town of Floodwood lives up to its name with nearly 6 inches of rain in two days.



THURSDAY: Rain, heavy at times. Winds: SE 10-20. High: 74

THURSDAY NIGHT: More rain. Low: 64

FRIDAY: Cloud-cluttered. Lingering showers. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 76

SATURDAY: More sunshine, stray PM shower? Winds: N 10-15. Wake-up: 63. High: 81

SUNDAY: Probably the sunnier, nicer day. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 65. High: 84

MONDAY: Unsettled, passing T-shower. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 66. High: 85

TUESDAY: Lukewarm sunshine, a fine July day. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 65. High: 86

WEDNESDAY: Few showers and T-storms possible. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 64. High: 79


Climate Stories....

Massive 11-Ton Iceberg Towers Over Little Village in Greenland. Feeling a little better about ice on Minnesota lakes after checking this out on Yahoo!: "A colossal 11-million ton iceberg is towering over a tiny Greenland village, captured in one of the most jaw-dropping photos you'll see this week. Taken by Karl Petersen on Friday, the photograph shows an enormous 650-feet-wide iceberg sitting dangerously close to the village of Innarsuit, an island settlement in the Avannaata municipality in northwestern Greenland. Why is this a threat? According to Greenland national newspaper Sermitsiaq, some residents of the 169-population village have evacuated for fear of a tsunami, if parts of the iceberg start breaking off this close to the village's shore, causing large waves..."


Advocates Call on OSHA: Protect Workers From Heat: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: "A broad coalition of worker advocacy, public health, and environmental groups yesterday called on the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to create a workplace standard for heat stress. Over 130 groups led by Farmworker Justice, United Farm Workers, and Public Citizen signed a petition sent to OSHA noting that two in every 1,000 American workers are now subject to heat stress, and calling on the agency to mandate that employers provide adequate hydration and shade, medical attention and rest breaks during high heat events. The Obama administration denied a previous petition for a heat stress standard from the coalition in 2012. "I don’t want any more families to go through the pain that my family went through," Californian Raudel Felix García, whose brother died while working his job at a vineyard during triple-digit temperatures, told reporters on a press call." (Huffington Post, E&E $, InsideClimate News. Commentary: New York Daily News, Terri Gerstein op-ed)


Thomas Friedman: "We're in the Middle of 3 Climate Changes - Not Just 1". Check out an interesting interview with St. Louis Park's Thomas Friedman at Fortune: "...Friedman said that in the midst of climate change, species need resilience to weather the storm, but also propulsion to power through it. “It’s not the strongest that survive, it’s not the smartest that survive, it’s the most adaptive that survive,” he explained. “We are in the middle of a giant adaptation challenge… at the individual level, at the community level, and at the corporate level.” Friedman said most national governments are “too paralyzed by political tribalism” to adapt to the pace of change. The single family, meanwhile, is “too weak” to adapt, he said. So what can?.."


Climate Change is Making It Harder For Us to Conceive. Say what? The University of California has an unlikely story: "According to research by UCLA environmental economist Alan Barreca, hot weather reduces chances of getting pregnant — and the problem is expected to get worse because of global warming. After noticing that August and September — nine months after the coldest part of the year — are two of the busiest months for births in the U.S., Barreca, a member of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, pored through 80 years of U.S. birth data, looking for trends. Reported in the journal Demography, the study found that high temperatures have a significant negative effect on fertility and birth rates, and the research projects that as climate change drives temperatures up and increases the number and severity of heat waves, getting pregnant may become harder than ever..."

Photo credit: iStock.com/andresr. "The study found that an August heat wave tends to result in significantly fewer births the following May, nine months later."


Sea Level Rise Could Force Us All Offline: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: "Sea level rise could soon threaten key components of the network of cables that form the backbone of the Internet, according to new research. An analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Oregon and University of Wisconsin-Madison predicts that more than 4,000 mile of critical electric cable could be under water within the next 15 years, with the networks of large cities like New York, Miami and Seattle most at risk. "Most of the damage that's going to be done in the next 100 years will be done sooner than later," coauthor Paul Barford told The Independent. "That surprised us. The expectation was that we'd have 50 years to plan for it. We don't have 50 years." (NPR, National Geographic, The IndependentNewsweek)


Cloudy With a Chance of Climate Change? TV Meteorologists Take On the Big Stuff. A shout-out to my dear friend Mike Nelson in Denver (one of many on-air heroes). He's featured in a story at Wyoming Public Radio: "...Physics doesn’t care about the politics.” Still, he knows there is a political war raging over the words “climate change” and what they represent.  So it’s a fine line.  One that Nelson said he has no trouble walking.  But he said his 40 years in the business gives him some cover. But, Nelson acknowledged, “if you're a 30-year-old weathercaster with a couple little kids and you've been in the market for two years, you're like jeez, I better back off. I got to keep my job.” Justin Roth, a 28-year-old-TV-meteorologist at a local station in Casper, Wyoming, said it is a fine line he has to walk, especially for someone so new in his field..."

Photo credit: "Denver meteorologist, Mike Nelson, preparing his weathercast with the help of a graph from Climate Central." Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC.


The Flash Drought Brought Misery, But Did It Change Minds on Climate Change? The recent extremes in North Dakota are highlighted in a story at InsideClimate News: "...I've seen the data that indicates, yes, we are warming, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of agreement," he added. "Some say that it's the result of man's activity and others say it's just a natural occurrence." I've heard this sentiment across Divide County and across our divided country. The confusion is not surprising, given concerted efforts to make climate science cloudy to the public. What is perhaps surprising is to hear the "some-say" argument from cooperative extension agents like Keith, who are trained in agricultural science to understand how climate affects farming and ranching productivity and to be the experts within their communities..."

Photo credit: "North Dakota is warming faster than many other regions. Temperatures here run about 3 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th Century's average." Credit: Meera Subramanian.


Soon Every Weather Event Could Become a State of Emergency. Hyperbole? Yes, but there is now little question that a warmer, wetter climate is amping up (many) storms, increasing rainfall totals. Here's an excerpt from The Outline: "In Japan, what started as a downpour on June 28 refused to relent, dug in its heels, and kept dumping rain on southern Japan for more than two weeks, and at least 176 people lost their lives. A blanket of water 847 million cubic feet in scale flooded the region, destroying almost 2,000 homes. The worst-hit regions were struck with about 70 inches of rain—almost six feet. Then, on July 9, just as the rain stopped, a barrage of simultaneous landslides devastated thousands of square miles in Western Japan, causing over 100 of the 176 deaths.The flooding in Japan is a tragic example of what happens when climate change raises the threat of dangerous but (at least at the time of onset) sub-emergency weather, like torrential rain, in regions that aren’t used to experiencing comparable events like typhoons or hurricanes..."

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