Is A Warmer Climate Spiking Some Hurricanes?

Did climate change spawn "Dorian"? No. But 93 percent of the additional warmth from emissions is going into the oceans. Hurricanes get their energy from warm ocean water. Dorian was the 5th catastrophic Category 5 hurricane since 2016 in the Atlantic basin. 4 consecutive years. That hasn't happened during the satellite record.

Sea levels are higher, so the storm surge is more damaging. Warmer air holds more moisture, increasing the potential for extreme inland flooding (Exhibit A: Harvey and Florence). Data suggests hurricanes are trending stronger, wetter and possibly slower, as steering winds ease.

Hurricane Dorian will come within spitting distance of Florida tonight, scraping the coast into the Carolinas by Thursday. Damage will be extensive.

Early morning storms give way to a gusty, drying breeze today. A stunning Wednesday, then a few Thursday showers. The best chance of weekend rain falls over southern Minnesota.

Cool 60s this weekend may give way to a few 80s next week. I could go for a warm front right above now. 

Image credit above: AerisWeather.

Mild Bias Mid-September. We'll see increasingly emboldened cool fronts in the coming weeks, but the 2-week outlook for 500mb winds (about 18,000 feet) show the chilliest air remaining over Canada with temperatures trending above average for most of the USA.

Cooler Pattern Dominates August. Dr. Mark Seeley reports at Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...More than half of the days in August have produced cooler than normal temperatures. As such, most climate stations report a monthly mean temperature that is 1 to 2 degrees F cooler than normal, with the largest departures in western counties. Extremes ranged from 94°F at St James (Watonwan County) on the 4th to 35°F at Hibbing (St Louis County) on the 30th. Despite the cooler than normal temperature readings for the state Minnesota did not report the nation’s lowest temperature even once during the month, somewhat unusual for our history..."

What to Do Before a Hurricane. I wrote a story for The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang; here's an excerpt: "...If evacuation seems likely, have a “go-bag” ready with clothing, extra cash and credit cards, essential medications and any documents you may need on the road. In the wake of a storm, the power may be out, and it may be difficult to travel. Create a Family Emergency Plan in advance. Don’t count on electricity, fresh food and water or gasoline in the wake of a major hurricane. Have at least a week’s worth of nonperishable food and water on hand. You don’t have to become a doomsday prepper, but planning ahead will save you pain and aggravation. Check on neighbors to make sure they have a plan, and make sure pets have sufficient food and water..."

Praedictix Intermediate Briefing: Issued Monday evening, September 2, 2019. Key Points:

* Hurricane Dorian is still an extremely dangerous Category 4 storm, stalled over Grand Bahama, where it's been for the better part of 24 hours. Destruction across the northern Bahamas will exceed anything we've seen from recent hurricanes. A Category 5 storm with 185-220 mph winds is bad enough, but to have a storm of that magnitude nearly stationary overhead for over a day is incomprehensible.

* The storm is still stationary, but expected to jog to the north/northwest Tuesday before turning north, then northeast, on a course that roughly parallels the coastline of the southeastern USA.

* The good news (which is hard to find this evening) is that nearly all models now keep the core of Dorian's strongest winds just offshore. There will be Category 1 intensity hurricane-force wind gusts along the Atlantic coastline of Florida from near West Palm Beach and Melbourne northward to Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Cape Canaveral and St. Augustine, where gusts over 80 mph are possible. Hurricane Warnings are posted, meaning hurricane conditions are likely/imminent.

* Hurricane Watches are posted for coastal Georgia and the Carolina coast for possible hurricane conditions by Wednesday and Thursday.

* A 4-7 foot storm surge is predicted for the east coast of Florida Tuesday into early Wednesday at high tide. Waves will be superimposed on top of this surge.

* Coastal rains of 5-10" or more will produce inland street/stream flooding, and isolated tornadoes can't be ruled out in Dorian's spiral bands.

Hurricane Dorian Remains Stationary. Weak to non-existent steering winds aloft will finally increase later tonight and Tuesday, pushing the storm to the north. Latest statistics:

LOCATION...26.8N 78.4W






Watches and Warnings. Hurricane-force wind gusts and a storm surge capable of significant flooding are expected from Port St. Lucie, Florida to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

 A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for...
 * Lantana FL to Altamaha Sound GA
 A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for...
 * North of Deerfield Beach FL to south of Lantana FL
 * Altamaha Sound GA to South Santee River SC
 A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...
 * Grand Bahama and the Abacos Islands in the northwestern Bahamas
 * Jupiter Inlet FL to Ponte Vedra Beach FL
 A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
 * North of Deerfield Beach FL to Jupiter Inlet FL
 * North of Ponte Vedra Beach FL to South Santee River SC
 A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
 * North of Deerfield Beach FL to Jupiter Inlet FL
 A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for...
 * North of Golden Beach FL to Deerfield Beach FL

State of Emergency. 10 counties in Florida are under a mandatory evacuation order, 6 in Georgia, 8 in South Carolina and Dare county, North Carolina, including the Outer Banks. Barrier islands will be especially vulnerable over the next 3 days. Map credit: TDS Weather.

Consensus Hurricane Track. Weather models are coming more into alignment, keeping the strongest winds and surf 50-100 miles offshore as Dorian curves to the northeast by Wednesday, coming very close to coastal North Carolina. Map credit:

Arrival Times. Tropical storm force winds (39 mph sustained) will reach Hilton Head, Georgia by Tuesday evening, Charleston by Wednesday morning and the Outer Banks of North Carolina by Thursday morning.

Peak Wind Gusts. Models show wind gusts close to hurricane force (74 mph plus) from West Palm Beach northward to Cape Canaveral late Tuesday into early Wednesday. Minor to moderate wind damage can be expected as Dorian scrapes the Atlantic coastline of Florida over the next 36 hours. Map: Praedictix.

A Very Close Call for Cape Canaveral, Florida Early Wednesday Morning. NOAA's HWRF model (above) keeps the most extreme (100 mph +) wnds roughly 40-75 miles east of Cape Canaveral and Daytona Beach, but hurricane force wind gusts as high as 80-90 mph can't be ruled out Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

Possible Early Thursday Landfall on Outer Banks. Here is why local officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation for Dare county, on North Carolina's Outer Banks. The center of a (weakened) Hurricane Dorian may cross over the barrier islands, focusing 100 mph winds and severe storm surge flooding, with the greatest potential for significant flooding south of Cape Hateras. Map credit: WeatherBell.

Storm Surge Potential. NOAA NHC has issued Storm Surge Warnings from West Palm Beach northward to coastal Georgia, for a potential storm surge of 4-7 feet above normal high tide. The greatest potential for a 6-7 foot surge will come close to high tide, when astronomical forcings converge with a mound of water whipped up by Dorian's high winds and low pressure. Map credit: NOAA NHC.

Watching Myrtle Beach and Morehead City. Right now CERA, Coastal Emergency Risks Assessment indicates the greatest concern for severe storm surge flooding will come in the vicinity of Myrtle Beach, and from Morehead City into the southern portions of the Outer Banks. Right now we do not envision extreme storm surge flooding from Duck, North Carolina to the Tidewater of Virginia.

Summary: Confidence levels continue to grow that Dorian will not make a direct strike on the U.S. mainland, although the projected track is still much too close for comfort, and we still can't entirely rule out a westward jog in the track that could bring the (most) dangerous hurricane eyewall ashore, especially near Cape Canaveral early Wednesday morning and North Carolina's Outer Banks on Thursday. Coastal areas that normally flood during Category 2-3 hurricanes will flood in the coming 72 hours, but a worst-case scenario should be avoided. Any damage to southeastern states will pale in comparison to what the Bahamas have endured - coming up on 24-36 continuous hours of sustained winds in excess of 140 mph. Sadly, the result will be a level of destruction we can't even fathom.

More information on FEMA’s Evacuation Guidelines can be found here:

Links to know your evacuation zone by state:



South Carolina:

North Carolina:

We'll continue to monitor Dorian and have a fresh update Tuesday morning. As always, feel free to reach out with specific questions or concerns.

Paul Douglas

Senior Meteorologist, Praedictix

How We Create Our Own Hurricane Catastrophes. Interesting perspective from The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "Over the past 167 years, 40 percent of all hurricanes that scored direct hits on the United States struck Florida. So it shouldn’t be surprising that Dorian, the latest storm to emerge from the Atlantic, has drawn a bead on Florida’s east coast. As of now, it is expected to land somewhere there on Tuesday as a powerful Category 4 hurricane. Unfortunately, we continue to construct our own disasters. A case in point: the West Palm Beach-Jupiter area of the state, within the broad cone of uncertainty for a strike by Dorian. Take a look at the growth there between 1984 and 2018..."

Animation credit: Google Earth Engine.

California Wine Carries Traces of Fukushima Fallout. Beer is suddenly looking like a good alternative, but experts say that amounts of radioactivity are harmless. Here's an excerpt from Smithsonian: "...Last January, researchers at France’s National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS, chanced upon a series of California wines dating between 2009 and 2012. Inspired by similar tests conducted in the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the French team decided to analyze the California wines for traces of radioactive particles, specifically cesium-137, a man-made isotope. Their findings, newly published in the pre-print online journal Arxiv, suggest that currents and atmospheric patterns carried radioactive particles across the Pacific, where they settled on grapevines growing in California's wine regions. The team writes that bottles produced following the nuclear meltdown contain increased levels of cesium-137, with the cabernet revealing double the amount of pre-Fukushima radiation..."

Smog and Sadness: Study Suggests Link Between Air Pollution and Psychiatric Disorders. Here's an excerpt from Study Finds: "Could the very air we breathe have an impact on our mental health? That’s the suggestion coming out of a new international study conducted in the United States and Denmark. After analyzing long-term data sets from both countries, researchers from the University of Chicago say they have identified a possible link between exposure to environmental pollution, specifically polluted air, and an increase in the onset of psychiatric and mental health problems in a population. According to the findings, air pollution is associated with increased rates of depression and bipolar disorder among both U.S. and Danish populations. That association was actually found to be even greater in Denmark, where poor air quality exposure during the first 10 years of a person’s life was found to predict a two-fold increase in the likelihood of developing schizophrenia or a personality disorder..."

File image: Reuters.

Do You Have What it Takes to be an NFL Taste Tester? CNN Travel explains: "It's a dream and a nightmare rolled into one, then battered and fried and topped with sriracha mayo. Pickswise, a free sports betting site, is offering one NFL fan the coveted -- and possibly dangerous -- position of NFL food tester.  Technically it's a contest, since you don't need any skills to be chosen for the role. What you do need is a tolerance for large crowds and even larger amounts of fried and sauced stadium food. A general affinity for football would probably help, too.  "The job description includes travelling to NFL stadiums to taste the finest tacos, nachos, burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches the league has to offer..."

A New Kind of Cybercrime Uses AI and Your Voice Against You. Deep fakes for doctored video, now this? Good grief. Quartz introduces us to a brave new world of unique hacks: "...A new kind of cybercrime that uses artificial intelligence and voice technology is one of the unfortunate developments of postmodernity. You can’t trust what you see, as deep fake videos have shown, or what you hear, it seems. A $243,000 voice fraud case, reported by the Wall Street Journal, proves it. In March, fraudsters used AI-based software to impersonate a chief executive from the German parent company of an unnamed UK-based energy firm, tricking his underling, the energy CEO, into making an allegedly urgent large monetary transfer by calling him on the phone. The CEO made the requested transfer to a Hungarian supplier and was contacted again with assurances that the transfer was being reimbursed immediately. That too seemed believable..."

76 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

77 F. average high on September 2.

82 F. high at MSP on September 2, 2018.

September 3, 1989: An early afternoon thunderstorm dropped 1 3/4 inch hail in Stearns and Morrison Counties.

September 3, 1980: An F2 tornado results in $2.5 million in property damage, followed by an F3 tornado causing $25 million in damages in Stearns County.

September 3, 1970: The record-setting hailstone fell that made Coffeyville, KS famous. It had a circumference of 17.5 inches and weighed 1.67 pounds.

September 3, 1917: An earthquake is felt from Staples to Brainerd.

TUESDAY: Early rain, then windy and drying out. Winds: NW 15-30. High: 74

WEDNESDAY: Blue sky with light winds. Winds: NW 3-8. Wake-up: 53. High: 69

THURSDAY: Few showers possible. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 57. High: 71

FRIDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 58. High: 74

SATURDAY: Best chance of showers S/W of MSP. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 56. High: 68

SUNDAY: Drier with some sunshine. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 54. High: 69

MONDAY: Few showers and T-storms. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 55. High: 71

Climate Stories....

With $32 Trillion in Assets, Investors Demand Immediate Action on Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from an article at Forbes: "A global group of 415 investors managing $32 trillion in assets just released a combined statement urging governments to accelerate their actions to mitigate climate change. The 2018 Global Investor Statement to Governments on Climate Change reiterated their support of the ongoing Paris Agreement discussions taking place during COP24 in Katowice, Poland. The group of global investors manages the funds of millions of beneficiaries around the world and urges governments to support and quickly adopt measures outlined in the Paris Agreement. The group warns that ignoring action against climate change could cause permanent economic damage up to four times the size of the 2008 financial crisis. To mitigate these economic damages, the group of investors calls on global leaders to commit to three priorities..."

Climate Change is Bad for the Planet, but Groundbreaking for Archeology. Quartz has a fascinating post; here's a clip: "...With global temperatures on the rise, mountain ice has begun to thaw at a drastic pace. As a result, ancient artifacts long lost between layers of ice and snow are starting to come to the surface. Since the 1990s, Otzi is just one of the thousands of remarkable discoveries that archaeologists have unearthed from glaciers and ice patches across the world. “Glacial archaeology has developed as an archaeological discipline because of the melting of mountain ice, brought on by climate change,” said Lars Holger Pilø, co-director of the Glacial Archaeology Program in Norway’s Oppland. “Glacial archaeology is quite different from normal archaeology in the lowlands. Besides the very different environment, we only have a short time window each year to conduct fieldwork— between when the snow from the previous winter has melted and the new winter snow arrives...”

Image credit: "Take a picture before it melts." AP Photo/Felipe Dana.

Politics of Climate Change Put Corporations in a Tough Spot. The Associated Press has perspective: "The polarizing politics of climate change have forced companies to choose between supporting the Trump administration’s deregulation policies that could boost profits or opposing them to win over environmentally conscious consumers. That dynamic played out again Thursday when President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency sought to revoke regulations on methane gas emissions from oil facilities. British Petroleum, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell voiced opposition to the plan but smaller oil and gas companies welcomed the possibility. Before that, it was the auto industry grappling with a proposal to loosen fuel economy requirements. And this summer, it was electric utilities dealing with lower pollution standards for coal-fired power plants..."

Image credit: Yale Climate Connections.

What 500,000 Americans Hit by Floods Can Teach Us About Climate Change. The Guardian reports: "...Since 2010, I have been researching and writing about sea-level rise. During that time the predictions for just how high the water might reach by 2100 have, in many places, more than doubled. Meanwhile, from 2010 to 2017 nearly 500,000 Americans filed flood insurance claims, and hundreds of thousands more experienced flooding first-hand. When you compare the claims filed during, say, the eight years of Reagan’s presidency to those mentioned above the numbers more than double. Which is to say for many living in low-lying areas the climate crisis is already here. One of the things I remember most clearly from my early research trips to rural flood-prone communities is that residents told me how alone they felt. Most knew of no other place whose suffering was somehow analogous to their own, or other people they might consult to learn how to tackle their flooding problem..."

2012 Duluth flood file image courtesy of AP.

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