Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 33 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, a new, national 24/7 weather channel with studios in Denver and Minneapolis. Founder of Media Logic Group, Douglas and a team of meteorologists provide weather services for media at Broadcast Weather, and high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.

Epic Autumn: Indian Summer Spills Over into Monday

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Lions Updated: October 24, 2014 - 9:39 PM

Unforgettable

Dear Diary: I take back everything bad I've ever said about Minnesota weather. The last few weeks have been an inspiration. Not one "Hey Paul, can't you DO something about this?" No death-stares or helpful suggestions from strangers about what I can do with my Doppler. I honestly can't remember a fall this remarkable.

On October 25, 1887 the Twin Cities woke up to 12F, prevailing winds howling from the polar regions. In contrast highs reach the 60s again today, the 13th day above 60F so far in October. A ridge of high pressure parked over the Plains has kept numbing air bottled to our north, jet stream steering winds churning high overhead more Pacific than Canadian.

Of course the big question is how long this mild bias will linger, and whether a developing El Nino will help us avoid a rerun of last winter's cruel arctic block.

The atmosphere remains too warm aloft for snow into the second week of November, but you'll still get some mileage out of a favorite jacket. We may see a few refreshing(?) days in the 40s next week.

Nothing Nanook is brewing looking out 2 weeks, but the Witch Watch remains in effect next Friday: mostly clear, 45-50F.

No scary blizzards this year.


Daily Statewide Climate Records in 2014. Dr. Mark Seeley takes a look at general trends this year and specific towns where new climate records have been broken. Here's an excerpt of this week's WeatherTalk: "...In general this year across Minnesota has been cooler than normal, with mixed precipitation (most areas above normal, but with some drier than normal spots).  For a statewide look, temperature-wise five months have been abnormally cool and four months near normal.  Moisture-wise three months have been drier than normal, three months near normal, and three months above normal, with a record-setting wettest June in history. In June over 30 climate stations set new monthly rainfall records, with several reports over 12 inches. Amidst the data for 2014 so far, there are nine statewide daily climate records which have been set..." (Image credit: funcram.com).


Watch Hurricane Odile Ravage Resort in Baja California, Mexico in Newly Released Video. Weather.com has a video clip showing security camera footage as the back half of Odile's eyewall came ashore. Amazing. Here's an excerpt: "...In the video above, you can see the gripping footage taken shortly after Odile's eye passed over the resort, as the back end of the hurricane began to ravage Cabo San Lucas. The footage appears to be from a hotel security camera, but you can clearly see Morgerman and his crew documenting the storm and sheltering inside the damaged resort. "Odile was the strongest hurricane landfall of 2014 in either the eastern Pacific or Atlantic basins," said weather.com senior meteorologist..."

* Technical problems with satellites data possibly impacting model accuracy? Details from Capital Weather Gang.


Student Storm Chasers Develop Drones to Probe Killer Tornadoes. Here's an idea that has merit, although anything flying into a 100-300 mph swirling landfill of debris is going to have trouble surviving and operating to spec. Here's a clip from Scientific American: "...The main body looks a little like a miniature B-2 stealth bomber, with a body made of foam aviation fiberglass. The team has made several prototypes and will soon be finished with the drone it will use to fly into the storm, but Causey said the team will need likely several attempts before it can make its design work. In order to fund the designs and the biggest expense—costs related to storm chasing like food, gas and hotels—the team has begun a Kickstarter campaign to help raise money..."

Photo credit above: "Student storm chasers and the drone that has replaced their truck, from left to right: Warren Causey, Nolan Lunsford and Brent Bouthiller."  Photo by Warren Causey, courtesy of the Sirens Project


1934 Drought In Dust Bowl Days Was Worst in Thousand Years for U.S.: NASA. Here's a clip from a story at NBC News that made me do a double-take: "The drought of 1934 wasn’t just bad, it was the worst. That’s the finding of a reconstruction of North American drought history over the past 1,000 years, done by scientists from NASA and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Their study, to be published in the Oct. 17 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, concludes the drought of 1934 during the Dust Bowl years in the North American Plains was 30 percent more severe than the next worst, which occurred in 1580, NASA said. The scientists used tree ring records from 1000 to 2005 along with modern observations..." (Image: Wikipedia).


Rising Above The Risk: America's First Tsunami Refuge. Yes, it puts our cold fronts into stark perspective. Here's the intro to a press release from The Geological Society of America: "Washington’s coast is so close to the seismically active Cascadia Subduction Zone that if a megathrust earthquake were to occur, a tsunami would hit the Washington shoreline in just 25 minutes. One coastal community is preparing for such a disaster by starting construction on the nation’s first tsunami evacuation refuge, large enough to shelter more than 1,000 people who are within 20-minute walking distance. The vertical evacuation-refuge will be the roof of the gym of the new school in Grays Harbor County, Washington. The Ocosta Elementary School and Tsunami Safe Haven will be the first of its kind in the nation and will be the culmination of 18 years of effort, said Tim Walsh, who is a Chief Hazard Geologist at the Department of Natural Resources and has been working on this project since The National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program was formed in 1995..."


Elephants Able To Detect Rainstorms 150 Miles Away. Forget Doppler, I'm buying an elephant. Here's the intro to an explanation at Popular Science: "Lions may be the kings of the animal world, but at least elephants could make for spunky meteorologists. New research is revealing that elephants have a radar-like spidey sense, capable of detecting an approaching rainstorm up to 150 miles off. While this may seem like an impractical talent, researchers say elephants' weather-predicting could help human conservationists save the animals from poachers. The elephants’ abilities are rooted in their excellent hearing skills..." (File photo: Wikipedia).

Vehicle Owners With Defective Air Bags Urged to Take Immediate Action. I checked on my family's vehicles to see if any might be threatened by shrapnel-shooting air bags and wanted to share the link with you. Here's a list of all the vehicles impacted, courtesy of NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: "The list below corrects the list that accompanied our October 20 advisory, which incorrectly included certain vehicles. The numbers cited for potentially affected vehicles below are subject to change and adjustment because there may be cases of vehicles being counted more than once. Owners should check their VIN periodically as manufacturers continue to add VINs to the database. Once owner recall notices are available, owners can retrieve a copy from SaferCar.gov, or will receive one by U.S. mail and are advised to carefully follow the enclosed instructions..."

Most Energy Efficient States in the USA? Minnesota came in at #10, details from ACEEE, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Here's an excerpt of their report, hightlighted at InvestorIdeas.com: "Governors and lawmakers in state capitals across the nation continue to take major steps to lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and save consumers money by increasing their states' energy efficiency, according to the findings of the 8th edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Available online at http://aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard, the report found that in 2014 Massachusetts (#1) continues to edge out California (#2) as the most energy-efficient state in the nation for the fourth year in a row. Following these states in the top 10 are: Rhode Island (marking the state's first time in top five), Oregon, and Vermont (all tied for #3); Connecticut (#6); New York (#7); Washington (#8); Maryland (#9); and Minnesota (#10)..."

* Minneapolis: 8th Most Energy Efficient City. ACEEE has the Twin Cities behind Boston (#1), New York City, Washington D.C., Austin and Seattle. The city summary is here.


For $100,000 You Can Clone Your Dog. No, I'm not entirely comfortable with where this is heading either. But if you're disgusted and/or curious click on story details from Bloomberg Businessweek.


There's More To Life Than Being Happy. Could the pursuit of happiness be making us more unhappy? Is happiness an accidental byproduct of the pursuit of something....more? Here's a clip from an article at The Atlantic that got my attention: "...At this writing, Gallup also reports that nearly 60 percent all Americans today feel happy, without a lot of stress or worry. On the other hand, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 4 out of 10 Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose. Forty percent either do not think their lives have a clear sense of purpose or are neutral about whether their lives have purpose. Nearly a quarter of Americans feel neutral or do not have a strong sense of what makes their lives meaningful. Research has shown that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression..."


Watching This Porcupine Taste a Pumpkin Is Why The World Is Going To Be Okay Today. Thanks to Mother Jones for including some sugar with the medicine; here's a clip: "...Teddy Bear, an 11-year-old male North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), is something of a YouTube star at this point, it seems. According to Zooiversity's website, he's raked in 11.5 million views from 16 viral videos and enjoys a following from over 19,000 Facebook fans..."


67 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

72 F. high in St. Cloud

81 F. high in Madison, Minnesota Friday.

54 F. average high on October 24.

44 F. high on October 24, 2013.

October 24, 1887: Albert Lea set a record low of -6 degrees F.

October 24, 1830: Heat wave at Ft. Snelling. Temperature reached 80.


TODAY: Sunny, breezy, pleasant. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 63

SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and cool. Low: 39

SUNDAY: Fading sun, still breeze. High: near 60

MONDAY: More clouds, still mild. Showers north/east of MSP. Wake-up: 50. High: 64

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy and cooler, feels like October. Wake-up: 44. High: 51

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Wake-up: 33. High: 49

THURSDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, chilly. Wake-up: 36. High: 53

HALLOWEEN: Clear, cool and dry for Walking Dead Reunion. Wake-up: 30. High: 48


Climate Stories...

Canada Switches on World's First Carbon Capture Power Plant. An encouraging step to control CO2 emissions, but it's one plant, and the price is still cost-prohibitive. Here's more from The Guardian: "Canada has switched on the first large-scale coal-fired power plant fitted with a technology that proponents say enables the burning of fossil fuels without tipping the world into a climate catastrophe. The project, the first commercial-scale plant equipped with carbon capture and storage technology, was held up by the coal industry as a real life example that it is possible to go on burning the dirtiest of fossil fuels while avoiding dangerous global warming..."

Photo credit above: "Boundary Dam CCS power plant in Canada." Photograph: SaskPowerCCS.


Pragmatism on Climate Change Trumps Politics at Local Level Across U.S. While D.C. congressmen pontificate, awash in special interest money, residents of south Florida are seeing the impacts of a warming atmosphere and rising sea washing up over their loafers. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...While politicians are increasingly willing to include environmental messages in their campaigns, many at the national level still steer clear of the politically charged topic of climate change. But in communities across the country where the effects are lapping at the doorsteps of residents, pragmatism often trumps politics, and candidates as well as elected officials across the political spectrum are embracing the issue. Some local Republican officials in Florida and elsewhere say they can no longer follow the lead of state and national party leaders..."

Photo credit above: "George Neugent, the commissioner of Monroe County, on a residential dock in Key Colony Beach, Fla. The recent king tide brought seawater over the docks in the community."  Credit Kristen Livengood for The New York Times


Big Insurance Won't Prep or Pay for Climate Change, Fails To See Irony. Grist dives into the existential threat to the insurance industry that is climate change; here's a snippet: "...Actually thinking about and preparing for climate change is going to be a headache for the insurance industry, just like it is for the rest of us. But in their case, there’s a clear financial incentive, and there’s an opportunity to use their data to help improve our existing climate models. There’s also the fact that insurers, if they aren’t blocked by local governments, can do a lot to make sure that property after a disaster is rebuilt more sensibly..."

Sandy File Photo: AP.


State and Local Climate Adaptation Plans. The Georgetown Climate Center has an interactive tool that lets you explore what individual states are doing to prepare for increasing climate volatility and extremes: "States and communities around the country have begun to prepare for the climate changes that are already underway.  This planning process typically results in a document called an adaptation plan. (Above) is a map that highlights the status of state adaptation efforts. Click on a state to view a summary of its progress to date and to access its full profile page. State profile pages include a detailed breakdown of each state's adaptation work and links to local adaptation plans and resources..."


Rosenburg: Politicians Agree That They Aren't Scientists. Saying "I'm not a scientist" when it's politicically inconvenient is a cop-out. An Op-Ed at Newsday on Long Island caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "...But as marine science professor David Hastings told Scott, scientists are the "mapmakers" while politicians are the "navigators." The navigator must ultimately choose the ship's course, but to do so while ignoring - or arbitrarily redrawing - the map is a perilous business. The distinction and the process should be familiar to any elected official. After all, politicians aren't engineers, but they approve infrastructure projects. They aren't accountants, but they create budgets. They aren't inventors, but they make patent laws..."


As Planet Warms, Scientists Predict Changes for Autumn Leaf Season. Here's an excerpt from a story at Think Progress: "...“Global climate change will not eliminate fall leaf color, but the best displays will move northward and upward in elevation in response to warming. For forests in their present location, fall foliage displays will occur later in the season and may last longer, but will be of diminished quality due to less intense red colors,” Neufeld writes. “The fall foliage displays that our grandchildren will see at the end of this century will not be the ones we see today.” (Graphic above: Climate Central).


Methane Leaks Wipe Out Any Climate Benefit of Fracking, Satellite Observations Confirm. Natural gas is cleaner, assuming there are few methane leaks around the drill heads, which may turn out to be a big assumption. Joe Romm has the article at Think Progress; here's the intro: "Satellite observations of huge oil and gas basins in East Texas and North Dakota confirm staggering 9 and 10 percent leakage rates of heat-trapping methane. “In conclusion,” researchers write, “at the current methane loss rates, a net climate benefit on all time frames owing to tapping unconventional resources in the analyzed tight formations is unlikely.” In short, fracking speeds up human-caused climate change, thanks to methane leaks alone. Remember, natural gas is mostly methane, (CH4), a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period..."


A Retreat From Weather Disasters. There is no constitutional right to property insurance or flood insurance. What happens when enough insurance companies reach the conclusion that risks are just too high to insure specific communities? It's already happening, as reported by The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "...As the damages wrought by increasingly disruptive weather patterns have climbed around the world, the insurance industry seems to have quietly engaged in what looks a lot like a retreat. A report to be released Wednesday by Ceres, the sustainability advocacy group, makes the point forcefully. “Over the past 30 years annual losses from natural catastrophes have continued to increase while the insured portion has declined,” it concluded. Last year, less than a third of the $116 billion in worldwide losses from weather-related disasters were covered by insurance, according to data from the reinsurer Swiss Re..."

Fantastic Friday

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: October 23, 2014 - 6:51 PM

Solar Eclipse

Here's the best I could do with Thursday's Partial Solar Eclipse in the Twin Cities. Note the glare in the bottom right corner of the picture; it's in the shape of Pacman - the glare is actually showing the partial solar eclipse!!

Wow Factor
By Paul Douglas

At the risk of editorializing, Friday will be an atmospheric balm from on high - more late August than late October. All those brave souls who kept their boats in the water an extra month will be smiling this afternoon. Expect blue sky, a soft breeze and 70 degrees by mid-afternoon, 20F warmer than average.

Kirk Dornfeld writes: "Can we truly call this current weather Indian Summer when we haven't yet had a killing frost? Or did I miss the frost?" The mercury at MSP International (the official reading) got down to 31F on October 11, with fairly widespread frost. The definition of Indian Summer is a little loose and subjective, but generally described as any warm days following the first cold weather or hard frost. Today fits that definition.

The weekend doesn't look too shabby with highs in the 60s spilling over into Monday, when a clap of thunder heralds the arrival of a cooler front.

Next week feels more like October, but nothing harsh is shaping up...yet. Expect Trick or Treat temperatures around 50F under a dry sky.

California may see a break in the drought; a colder/wetter pattern out west favoring a mild, Pacific flow for Minnesota. An Indian Summer November?

========

THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, patchy ground fog. Low: 47

FRIDAY: Indian Summer returns. Perfect weather - warm sun. High: near 70. Winds: S 5-10

FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and quiet. Low: 51

SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, cooler breeze. High: 63

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, breezy. Clouds increase PM hours. Showers Sunday night. Low: 42. High: 61

MONDAY: Mild sun, passing T-storm. Wake-up: 50. High: 61

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, light jackets return. Wake-up: 46. High: 50

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Wake-up: 38. High: 49

THURSDAY: Mix of clouds and sun. Octoberish. Wake-up: 36. High: 53.

==============

This Day in Weather History
October 24th

1922: Storm over Minnesota brings 55 mph winds at Collegeville.

=============

Average High/Low for Minneapolis
October 24th

Average High: 54F (Record: 80F set in 1989)
Average Low: 37F (Record: 15F set in 1887)

=============

Sunrise/Sunset Times
October 24th

Sunrise: 7:40am
Sunset: 6:13pm

==============

Moon Phase for October 24th at Midnight
1.4 Days Since New Moon

==============

Minneapolis Temperature Trend

According to extended weather models, we could be in for a fairly decent chilly by the end of the month/early November. With that said, enjoy the next few days with mostly dry weather and highs in the 60s to near 70. Things begin to change early/mid next week as a large trough of low pressure works east. The first weekend of November could be a chilly one. 

=================

Friday Weather Outlook

WOW! Weather conditions on Friday look incredible! Highs in the 70s across much of the state with a mild southwest breeze. Clock out of work early if you can and soak up the sunshine. Cooler temperatures are on the way next week.

Friday Highs From Normal

Here's how much above average we'll be on Friday. Note that much of the Upper Midwest will be nearly 10F to 20F degrees above average!

Weather Outlook

Say so long to the precipitation for a few days. The line of showers that moved through late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning is long gone and mostly dry weather will persist through much of the next several days

Average Snowfall for Minneapolis

Whether you like it or not, we're not too far away from talking about snow. According to NOAA, the average (1981-2010) monthly snowfall for Minneapolis in October is 0.6" we have yet to see anything officially. However, Duluth, MN saw a trace of snow on October 3rd and 4th (Duluth averages 2.3" according to 1981-2010 averages). Interestingly, the average snow for November in Minneapolis and Duluth goes up significantly, Minneapolis typically sees 9.3" while Duluth averages 13.7". Thanks to my good friend and colleague D.J. Kayser, he found that the average 1" snow depth at Minneapolis is November 17th.

National Weather Outlook

Heavy rainfall in the Northeast will continue to taper through the end of the week. Weather conditions will improve greatly by the weekend as the storm system pulls away from the coast. There is also another very strong area of low pressure in the West that will continue to bring heavy rain to coastal communities through the weekend.

Heavy Rain in the Northwest

Portland, OR picked up 1.88" of rain on Wednesday, which makes in the wettest day in 2014 and the 3rd wettest October day on record since 1871. The loop below shows the precipitable water or how much moisture there is in the atmosphere and note the bright strip of heavier moisture that has positioned itself from north of Hawaii to the Pacific Northwest. This is part of the reason for all the heavy rainfall in the Northwest as of late.

 
Heavy Northwest Rain

Here's a look at the satellite from earlier Wednesday, which shows a very large low pressure system in the Gulf of Alaska. The strong upper level winds are pulling a lot of this heavier moisture from tropics. Interestingly, some of the moisture headed into next week could be related to the remnants of Tropical Storm Ana that slid south of Hawaii last weekend.

Remnants of Tropical Storm Ana to Affect the Pacific Northwest?

The National Weather Service has put together a nice blog explainer on how remnants from Tropical Storm Ana that slid south of Hawaii last weekend may have an effect on the Pacific Northwest by early next week.

Read more from the NWS HERE:

Rainfall Potential

According to NOAA's HPC, the 5 day rainfall potential suggests quite a bit of heavy rainfall across the West Coast from northern California to Washington!

U.S. Drought Monitor

The latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor showed the worst of the drought still across the western U.S. with much of the EXCEPTIONAL drought across California.

"SUMMARY: The major weather system that affected much of the nation’s midsection last week left abundant precipitation this week from the mid-Atlantic up into New England. Hurricane Ana lost strength as it approached Hawaii and Tropical Storm Ana passed south of the Hawaiian Island dumping up to 10 inches of rain in its path."

"LOOKING AHEAD:  During the October 22- 27, 2014 time period, precipitation is expected in the Pacific Northwest, southern Florida, and New England. Warmer than normal temperatures are expected throughout most of the interior of the nation. For the ensuing 5 days (October 28- November 1, 2014), the odds favor normal to above-normal temperatures across country with the exception of southeast Alaska. Above-normal precipitation is likely from the Pacific Northwest into the northern Great Plains and Upper Midwest, as well as in southern Florida and northwest Alaska. Below-normal precipitation is expected in a wide area from the Southwest through the Southern Plains and Southeast and up through the Lower Midwest and into the Mid-Atlantic and New England, as well as southeast Alaska."

"Moisture fell in areas of the extreme Southwest and in the coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest this Drought Monitor week. As a result, areas of Moderate (D1) and Severe Drought (D2) were reduced in southwest New Mexico around Hidalgo County. Likewise the area of Extreme Drought (D3) was reduced in the northeast part of the state near San Juan County. There are numerous reports of improvement in pasture and grassland conditions but longer-term deficits remain over much of the state, resulting in conservative improvements. The same is true in the Pacific Northwest. Despite recent rains along the coast, long-term deficits are still being felt so improvement was held in check for another week. The rain has reduced the fire danger. As of October 17, only two large fires are burning in the country and they are both in California. To date, there have been 41,790 wildfires in 2014 that burned 3,070,737 acres. This is well below the 62,864 fire and 6,796,329 acre average of the last ten years (source: National Interagency Fire Center)."

California Drought Continues

"Many areas in California have experienced three below normal rainfall seasons resulting in a reduction of reservoir levels, lowering groundwater levels, and drier than normal vegetation that has contributed to heightened wildfire concerns. In response to this, on January 17, 2014 California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency in California. The full text of the emergency proclamation can be accessed at: www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18368

On April 25, 2014 Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order to redouble the state drought actions. The full text of the executive order can be accessed at: www.gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18496

Below is the U.S. Drought Monitor Map depicting drought conditions across the country as of September 23, 2014. This current map classifies 82% of California in extreme and exceptional drought and 58% of California in exceptional drought."

The National Weather Service has a great map and pictures of how the drought has affected southern California, see more HERE:

(Photo Credit NOAA)

Changes Ahead

Take a look at the 500mb vorticity (spin) map below for Friday and note the large ridge of high pressure that takes up most of the western U.S.. This ridge is pushing the upper level winds north along the International border, which will help to keep the colder air in Canada for now...

Here's the 850mb temperature outlook for Friday, which mimics that of the 500mb vorticity map above. Warmer weather corresponds with ridging in the western U.S., while cooler weather is kept in check across Canada.

500mb Vorticity on Tuesday, October 28th

By early next week a fairly large trough of low pressure begins to settle into the Upper Midwest with much cooler temperatures along with it.

The 850mb temperatures outlook for Tuesday of next week mimics that of the 500mb vorticity map above, which shows a fairly decent pocket of cold weather heading south of the border along with that trough. 

Thanks for checking in and have a great end of your week/weekend ahead! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWX.

Indian Summer: Round 3 - Good Chance of Seeing Partial Solar Eclipse Later Today

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Lions Updated: October 22, 2014 - 11:16 PM

But Wait, There's More (Indian Summer)

Yesterday an acquaintance had the nerve to complain about showers in the forecast. Really? Rain. Liquid water. At night. On a weekday. You do realize you could be ankle-deep in slush right now? 1 to 3 inch snowfalls begin to ramp up in late October; but snow cover doesn't linger until late November - when the mercury is consistently colder than 32F.

It's been a miraculously nice couple of weeks, some of the finest fall weather I can ever remember. And it's not over.

Soggy Leaf Warnings are issued this morning, a rude reminder that a little rain on freshly fallen leaves can make for a slippery mess. The sun peeks out later, boosting temperatures into the 60s. 70F is not out of the question tomorrow before a very slight cool-down Saturday with highs in the low 60s; still above average for late October.

A mild start Monday gives way to a reality check next week. Odds favor jacket-worthy 40s for Trick or Treating next Friday. Which is scarier: bats, ghouls or the latest political attack ads on TV?

I'm not sure which is more terrifying but I can see the ad campaign now. "Old Man Winter Has a Mean Streak! He's Just Not Right for Minnesota."

I respectfully disagree.


Partial Solar Eclipse. Here's more information on the partial eclipse visible later today, peaking at 5:35 PM in Minnesota. Odds favor clearing with a pretty good chance of seeing the eclipse. Remember not to look directly at the sun, right? Here's more information from the Twin Cities National Weather Service: A solar eclipse will be visible across Minnesota and Wisconsin late Thursday afternoon and early evening. Here are the details:

When: Thursday October 23, 2014

Times (CDT):
Partial Eclipse Begins: 4:23 PM 
Maximum Eclipse: 5:35 PM 


Sunset: 
Eau Claire: 6:08 PM
Twin Cities: 6:15 PM
St. Cloud: 6:17 PM


Additional details about this eclipse are available on NASA's website at: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/OH/OH2014.html#SE2014Oct23P

What is an eclipse? www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/5-8/features/what-is-an-eclipse-58/#.VEeaVyLF9g0


Good Chance of Seeing Partial Solar Eclipse. Nothing is ever guaranteed, but the sloppy front responsible for showers overnight and a damp start to your Thursday morning should push quickly into Wisconsin, with a clearing trend as the day goes on. 4 km NAM future radar product: NOAA and HAMweather.


Indian Summer: Round 3? I'm rapidly losing track of how many mild spells we've had since the first sub-freezing low at MSP (31F on October 11), but I think this is the third wave of warmth pushing north. Highs reach the 60s to near 70F today and tomorrow; I still think there's a good chance of low 60s over the weekend and Monday before cooling back down to October-like levels later next week. ECMWF guidance is hinting at mid 40s to around 50F for Halloween Trick or Treating - probably dry. No blizzards this year.


Nor'easter Soaks Nor'east, Tropical Disturbance for South Florida? A slow-moving storm churning up the East Coast will circulate copious amounts of Atlantic moisture into New England, where some 2-4" rainfall amounts are possible, especially Boston to Portland and Bangor. Winds top 20-30 mph with a risk of flash flooding over the next 36-48 hours. Heavy rain spreads across the Pacific Northwest into northern California while south Florida gets brushed by a tropical system which may put down some excessive rainfall amounts near Miami.


Flash Flood Potential. Our internal Alerts Broadcaster models are printing out excessive rainfall amounts for south Florida over the next 60 hours. I'm not convinced Miami will see over 10" of rain, but some 4-8" amounts are possible, capable of significant flash flooding later today into Friday.


Germany Storm Surge Submerges Cars. A powerful storm surge from the soggy, wind-whipped remains of Hurricane Gonzalo caused very significant flooding along Germany's coastline on Wednesday. Here's a link to a video clip from AP and The Brisbane Times: "Raw vision: cars stand partially submerged in water as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo caused a storm surge along parts of Germany's coastline."

* Losses from Hurricane Gonzalo on Bermuda estimated at $200-400 million dollars.


Billion Dollar Weather/Climate Disasters: Overview. Here's an excerpt from NOAA NCDC: "Found here are the weather/climate events that have had the greatest economic impact from 1980 to 2013. The U.S. has sustained 170 weather/climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2013). The total cost of these 170 events exceeds $1 trillion. In 2013, there were 9 weather/climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included a drought event, 2 flooding events, and 6 severe storm events. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 113 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted..."


1934 Drought In Dust Bowl Days Was Worst in Thousand Years for U.S.: NASA. Here's a clip from a story at NBC News that made me do a double-take: "The drought of 1934 wasn’t just bad, it was the worst. That’s the finding of a reconstruction of North American drought history over the past 1,000 years, done by scientists from NASA and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Their study, to be published in the Oct. 17 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, concludes the drought of 1934 during the Dust Bowl years in the North American Plains was 30 percent more severe than the next worst, which occurred in 1580, NASA said. The scientists used tree ring records from 1000 to 2005 along with modern observations..." (Image: Wikipedia).


Rising Above The Risk: America's First Tsunami Refuge. Yes, it puts our cold fronts into stark perspective. Here's the intro to a press release from The Geological Society of America: "Washington’s coast is so close to the seismically active Cascadia Subduction Zone that if a megathrust earthquake were to occur, a tsunami would hit the Washington shoreline in just 25 minutes. One coastal community is preparing for such a disaster by starting construction on the nation’s first tsunami evacuation refuge, large enough to shelter more than 1,000 people who are within 20-minute walking distance. The vertical evacuation-refuge will be the roof of the gym of the new school in Grays Harbor County, Washington. The Ocosta Elementary School and Tsunami Safe Haven will be the first of its kind in the nation and will be the culmination of 18 years of effort, said Tim Walsh, who is a Chief Hazard Geologist at the Department of Natural Resources and has been working on this project since The National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program was formed in 1995..."


Floods Don't Wash With This Amphibious, Floating House. Here's an idea that just might work. Let your home ride the rising waves? Gizmag has details, here's an excerpt: "Living in an area prone to flooding has historically meant that you need high sockets and deep pockets. Baca Architects, however, has come up with an altogether more ingenious solution. Its "amphibious house," designed to float on floodwater before being gently placed back down, is nearly complete..."


Elephants Able To Detect Rainstorms 150 Miles Away. Forget Doppler, I'm buying an elephant. Here's the intro to an explanation at Popular Science: "Lions may be the kings of the animal world, but at least elephants could make for spunky meteorologists. New research is revealing that elephants have a radar-like spidey sense, capable of detecting an approaching rainstorm up to 150 miles off. While this may seem like an impractical talent, researchers say elephants' weather-predicting could help human conservationists save the animals from poachers. The elephants’ abilities are rooted in their excellent hearing skills..." (File photo: Wikipedia).

The Remarkable Story of SpaceX. How did Elon Musk's company disrupt Boeing and leapfrog NASA to become a serious space company? Here's an excerpt from a fascinating chronology at Quartz: "...When NASA officials first got involved with SpaceX eight years ago, they thought they were hiring a temp worker for scut work—a so-called “space taxi” while the government focused on higher aims. But now the commercial project may be NASA’s best hope for getting humans into space. When Elon Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, it was, at best, a millionaire’s flight of fancy. He had made his fortune from tech startups Zip2 and PayPal, and was still two years away from starting Tesla, the electric-car firm..."

Photo credit: "Better, faster, cheaper." (SpaceX)


Top 10 Greenest Countries In The World No, the USA isn't in the Top 10, not yet. Here's an excerpt of the story at EcoWatch: "The 60 countries covered are a dramatic increase from the 27 included in the last report in 2012. It assessed nations on every continent and found that the Scandinavian countries, along with Germany, were clear leaders. Sweden and Norway headed up the list of actual performance, with Costa Rica ranking third, inside the top 15 for the first time, and Germany and Denmark rounding out the top five. Poland, Senegal, Qatar, Vietnam and Mongolia bring up the rear in slots 56-60, with China just above them at 55. The U.S. came in close to the middle, ranked at 28..."


Most Energy Efficient States in the USA? Minnesota came in at #10, details from ACEEE, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Here's an excerpt of their report, hightlighted at InvestorIdeas.com: "Governors and lawmakers in state capitals across the nation continue to take major steps to lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and save consumers money by increasing their states' energy efficiency, according to the findings of the 8th edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Available online at http://aceee.org/state-policy/scorecard, the report found that in 2014 Massachusetts (#1) continues to edge out California (#2) as the most energy-efficient state in the nation for the fourth year in a row. Following these states in the top 10 are: Rhode Island (marking the state's first time in top five), Oregon, and Vermont (all tied for #3); Connecticut (#6); New York (#7); Washington (#8); Maryland (#9); and Minnesota (#10)..."

* Minneapolis: 8th Most Energy Efficient City. ACEEE has the Twin Cities behind Boston (#1), New York City, Washington D.C., Austin and Seattle. The city summary is here.


There's More To Life Than Being Happy. Could the pursuit of happiness be making us more unhappy? Is happiness an accidental byproduct of the pursuit of something....more? Here's a clip from an article at The Atlantic that got my attention: "...At this writing, Gallup also reports that nearly 60 percent all Americans today feel happy, without a lot of stress or worry. On the other hand, according to the Center for Disease Control, about 4 out of 10 Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose. Forty percent either do not think their lives have a clear sense of purpose or are neutral about whether their lives have purpose. Nearly a quarter of Americans feel neutral or do not have a strong sense of what makes their lives meaningful. Research has shown that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression..."


"So Badass You Can't Believe It. Magic Leap Raises $542 Million To Launch the Future of Computing. Is there a pony in there, or maybe a baby (virtual) elephant? For a look at what (may) come next check out a story at Fast Company; here's an excerpt: "...No one is willing today to explain exactly what the heck Magic Leap is making that'll replace all our rectangles, but it sounds like a blending of what we currently call augmented reality and virtual reality. In fact, Dr Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm's executive chairman and one of Magic Leap's new board advisors, along with Google executive Sundar Pichai, used precisely those two terms in an email to me explaining why he invested..."


Our Unique "Microbial Aura" Travels With Us Wherever We Go. Proving we are the sum of our travels, interactions (and germs we've picked up along the way). Here's an story excerpt that will leave you washing your hands repeatedly, courtesy of PRI, Public Radio International: "Your bacterial community [is] a composite of all of the decisions and interactions you’ve ever made in your life. Unless you lived exactly the same life as me, you would not have the same microbiome. You are, in essence, microbially unique," explains Jack Gilbert, one of the authors of the new paper and director of the Home Microbiome Study at the Argonne National Laboratory. If you were to move in to a new home, for example, the collection of bacteria that live on and around the surfaces of the home would become so transformed by your personal microbiome that it could be indentified as belonging to you based on just a sample of its bacteria..."

Image credit above: Argonne National Laboratory. "An artist's depiction of bacteria covering a person's skin and surroundings (in yellow and green)."


The Worst Places to Seek Refuge During The Zombie Apocalypse. Here's some useful information - happy to see that MSP isn't on this list. Here's a clip from Huffington Post: "When the undead rise up, hitting the beach in zombie-free bliss will not be an option. Honolulu is ranked as the most appetizing city for hungry zombies. Residents of Honolulu will make easy targets for the walking dead, what with the city's high walkability and lack of hardware stores (where there are potential zombie-killing weapons). Honolulu also has a high hospital density, making it easy for zombies to find weak victims, and it is extremely congested, with some of the worst traffic in the nation..."


60 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

55 F. average high on October 22.

40 F. high temperature on October 22, 2013.

October 22, 1899: Warm day in the Twin Cities with a high of 82.


TODAY: Wet start. Skies brighten with mild PM sun. Partial solar eclipse peaks at 5: 35 pm. Winds: West 5-10. High: 66

THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, patchy ground fog. Low: 46

FRIDAY: Indian Summer returns. Perfect weather - warm sun. High: near 70

SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, cooler breeze. Wake-up: 49. High: 61

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, breezy. Clouds increase PM hours. Showers Sunday night. Low: 45. High: 62

MONDAY: Mild, showery rains likely. Wake-up: 51. High: 63

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, light jackets return. Wake-up: 41. High: 55

WEDNESDAY: Blue sky, still quiet. Wake-up: 36. High: 51


Climate Stories...

As Planet Warms, Scientists Predict Changes for Autumn Leaf Season. Here's an excerpt from a story at Think Progress: "...“Global climate change will not eliminate fall leaf color, but the best displays will move northward and upward in elevation in response to warming. For forests in their present location, fall foliage displays will occur later in the season and may last longer, but will be of diminished quality due to less intense red colors,” Neufeld writes. “The fall foliage displays that our grandchildren will see at the end of this century will not be the ones we see today.” (Graphic above: Climate Central).


Methane Leaks Wipe Out Any Climate Benefit of Fracking, Satellite Observations Confirm. Natural gas is cleaner, assuming there are few methane leaks around the drill heads, which may turn out to be a big assumption. Joe Romm has the article at Think Progress; here's the intro: "Satellite observations of huge oil and gas basins in East Texas and North Dakota confirm staggering 9 and 10 percent leakage rates of heat-trapping methane. “In conclusion,” researchers write, “at the current methane loss rates, a net climate benefit on all time frames owing to tapping unconventional resources in the analyzed tight formations is unlikely.” In short, fracking speeds up human-caused climate change, thanks to methane leaks alone. Remember, natural gas is mostly methane, (CH4), a super-potent greenhouse gas, which traps 86 times as much heat as CO2 over a 20-year period..."


A Retreat From Weather Disasters. There is no constitutional right to property insurance or flood insurance. What happens when enough insurance companies reach the conclusion that risks are just too high to insure specific communities? It's already happening, as reported by The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "...As the damages wrought by increasingly disruptive weather patterns have climbed around the world, the insurance industry seems to have quietly engaged in what looks a lot like a retreat. A report to be released Wednesday by Ceres, the sustainability advocacy group, makes the point forcefully. “Over the past 30 years annual losses from natural catastrophes have continued to increase while the insured portion has declined,” it concluded. Last year, less than a third of the $116 billion in worldwide losses from weather-related disasters were covered by insurance, according to data from the reinsurer Swiss Re..."


Climate Records Are Breaking So Often Now, We've Stopped Paying Attention. Chris Mooney has the story at The Washington Post; here's an excerpt: "...On Monday, we learned from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that last September was the hottest of them all, out of 135 Septembers going back to 1880.The same was true for August 2014. And June of 2014. And May of 2014. What that means is that for each of these months, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature has never been higher, at least since we started recording these temperatures back in the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes..."


East Coast, Gulf Coast Should Get Used to Tidal Floods. Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at CNN: "...Global sea levels rose approximately 8 inches from 1880 to 2009 as global warming hastened land-based ice melt, and seawater expanded as it absorbed heat from a warming atmosphere. Sea level rise worldwide is now accelerating, and at an especially fast rate along parts of the East Coast. This reality is captured in a report we co-authored earlier this month, analyzing how often flooding occurs at 52 sites along the Eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico and estimating the frequency and extent of flooding over the next 15 and 30 years. We found that many East Coast communities now experience dozens of tidal floods every year. In some places, there has been a fourfold increase in the number of days per year with tidal flooding since 1970..."

Another Month, Another Global Heat Record Broken. Will 2014 break another record? It's still a little early, but if the warm weather departures we've been tracking in recent months continue the answer is probably yes. Here's an excerpt from AP and Huffington Post: "...If 2014 breaks the record for hottest year, that also should sound familiar: 1995, 1997, 1998, 2005 and 2010 all broke NOAA records for the hottest years since records started being kept in 1880. "This is one of many indicators that climate change has not stopped and that it continues to be one of the most important issues facing humanity," said University of Illinois climate scientist Donald Wuebbles..."