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.

Posts about Bears

30 Degrees Warmer Than Last Year - 50F Whiff of El Nino This Weekend?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: December 10, 2014 - 10:11 PM

Pausing Winter

Since 1899 there have been a total of 32 Christmases in the Twin Cities with no snow or a trace of snow, qualifying as a "brown Christmas". The last time this happened was 2011. Unless the pattern shifts dramatically and unexpectedly, I'm expecting a snow-optional Christmas this year.

Blame (or thank) El Nino, a mild stain of water in the Pacific. Yesterday the Japan Meteorological Agency called it the first official El Nino in 5 years.

Who cares?

Historically, El Nino has a domino effect worldwide, impacting not only ocean currents but how jet stream steering winds set up. Big storms tend to slam into California, track across the far southern USA before turning up the East Coast - a pattern we're already seeing manifested on the weather maps. We'll still see cold fronts, but during an El Nino winter winds aloft blow from the Pacific with greater frequency, meaning milder and (usually) drier for Minnesota.

Exhibit A: we should hit 40F tomorrow; 50s possible over the weekend - 20 to 25F warmer than average. Moist, Pacific air passing over cold ground will spark clouds and thick fog at times, even a little rain Sunday.

I don't see any accumulating snow between now and Christmas Eve.


* One year ago today the Twin Cities woke up to -8F with an afternoon high of 5F. Source: NOAA.


Shot at 50F. 40s are likely, and if everything goes just right we may hit 50F Saturday, low to mid 50s possible Sunday before temperatures cool back down closer to average early next week. No big storms of any flavor are brewing, but ECMWF guidance hints at a little rain or drizzle during the PM hours Sunday.


Wet West Coast Smack. It may be one of the biggest storms to push into California since the last El Nino 5 years ago. Models hint at 3" of rain in the Bay Area today, 1-2" near Los Angeles and San Diego tomorrow - snow tapering off over New England. 60-hour accumulated precipitation: NOAA and HAMweather.


Mild Bias Next 2 Weeks. Although temperatures peak this weekend a mild, Pacific wind aloft blows much of the next 2 weeks, keeping temperatures above average for the next 10-12 days. There are some signs of a colder front right around Christmas Eve or Christmas Day; not bitter, but closer to average. Accumulating snow? I don't see any looking out the next 2 weeks. If we do see a white Christmas it'll be by the skin of our teeth. Map: NOAA.


Historical Chances of a White Christmas? On average 72 out of 100 December 25ths have an inch or more of snow on the ground at MSP International, for those of you who live at the Twin Cities airport this is helpful information. Some days I feel like I live there, come to think of it. Just waiting for MSP to go condo. Here's a clip from the Minnesota DNR: "...In 115 years of snow depth measurements in Twin Cities, a white Christmas happens about 72% of the time. From 1899 to 2013 there have been 32 years with either a "zero" or a "trace." The last time the Twin Cities has seen a brown Christmas was 2011. The deepest snow cover on December 25th was in 1983 with a hefty 20 inches. It was also a very cold Christmas in 1983, with the high temperature of one (1) degree F. It was not the coldest Christmas Day in the Twin Cities. That dubious award goes to 1996 with a "high" temperature of 9 below zero F. The warmest Christmas Day in the Twin Cities was 51 degrees in 1922. There was not a white Christmas that year. In fact, the Minneapolis Weather Bureau log book for that day states that the day felt "spring like..."


First El Nino In Five Years Declared By Japan's Weather Bureau. This call isn't universally shared by other weather services, like NOAA or Environment Canada, or even Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, but it's an acknowledgment that the Pacific is warming up. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "Japan’s weather bureau said on Wednesday that an El Niño weather pattern, which can trigger drought in some parts of the world while causing flooding in others, had emerged during the summer for the first time in five years and was likely to continue into winter. That marks the first declaration by a major meteorological bureau of the much-feared El Niño phenomenon, which had been widely expected to emerge this year..."

Map credit above: "Global temperatures sea surface levels in June. Weather agencies have been predicting an El Niño all year but Japan’s is the first to declare it." Photograph: NOAA.

* El Nino Outlook from JMA, Japan Meteorological Agency, is here. More information on the emerging El Nino from Climate Crocks.


El Nino Lingers into Mid 2015. NOAA says a 65% chance of El Nino this winter, lasting into the middle of 2015. Details here. This is one of many reasons why I suspect the core of the upcoming winter season won't be as harsh as last winter.


Why Hasn't A Major Hurricane Hit The U.S. In 9 Years? Andrea Thompson has a good summary focused on what meteorologists know and don't know about the recent Atlantic hurricane drought. Meanwhile the Pacific experienced 7 Category 5 typhoons this year. All or nothing. Chalk it up to luck? Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...The drought of major hurricane hits is unmatched according to records stretching back to the 1950s. And its reason is a mystery. Experts chalk it up to chance, rather than any identifiable climate pattern or the effect of global warming. After all, major hurricanes have raked Mexico and many Caribbean countries in that nine-year interval. Even Sandy was a major hurricane when it hit Cuba. “Other people have been bearing the brunt,” Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said. “We’ve just been fortunate...”

Map credit above: "The tracks of all hurricanes that reached major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher) in the Atlantic Ocean basin from the 2006 through 2013 hurricane seasons." Credit: NOAA.


Which City Has The Most Unpredictable Weather? Oh to be a meteorologist in Rapid City, South Dakota. The greatest weather extremes in general come near the center of large continents, well away from the moderating influence of warmer ocean water. Here's an excerpt from a long but excellent story at Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight: "...But Rapid City isn’t alone; other cities in the Great Plains and Upper Midwest dominate the most-unpredictable list. After Rapid City, those with the most unpredictable weather are Great Falls, Montana; Houghton, Michigan; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota; Duluth, Minnesota; Bismarck, North Dakota; Aberdeen, South Dakota; Grand Island, Nebraska; and Glasgow, Montana. For the most part, these cities are landlocked. The presence of lakes or oceans can contribute to weather problems — for instance, the huge amounts of lake-effect snow in Houghton, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (about twice as much as in notoriously snowy Buffalo, New York). But water usually does more to regulate temperatures and severe weather..."


The Story Behind The Winter Misery Index. Meteorologist Andrew Freedman had a good story about the origin of the WMI at Mashable back in February that's worth a read; here's an excerpt: "...The index attempts to put the “badness” or “goodness” of winter into historical context, Bousted said. The index is based on daily temperature and precipitation data, including snowfall and snow depth. It uses thresholds of temperature and snowfall to assign a score to each day, which gets tallied up throughout a season, with a running tally and a final score at the end of the year to gauge a winter’s severity. The scores correspond to a category, with a one-through-five system — with five being the worst — similar to those used for other severe weather phenomena..." (Graphic credit above: Minnesota DNR).


The Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index. Yes, WMI roles off the tongue, but the original index is the AWSSI. Here's an excerpt of a good explanation of how this running winter index is calculated and updated from the Midwest Regional Climate Center: "...Daily scores are calculated based on scores assigned to temperature, snowfall, and snow depth thresholds. The daily scores are accumulated through the winter season, allowing a running total of winter severity in the midst of a season as well as a final, cumulative value characterizing the full season. Accumulations of the temperature and snow components of the index are computed separately and then added together for the total index. This allows comparison of the relative contribution of each to the total score..."

* More information on Barbara Boustead's new winter rating scale from the AMS, the American Meteorological Society.


Scientists Find Early Warning Signs of Changing Ocean Circulation. Rapid melting of polar regions is flushing more fresh water into the North Atlantic, which may (over time) impact a global conveyor belt of moving water around the planet. Here's a clip from UPI: "The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC for short, is the large-scale flow of water -- driven by temperature and salinity gradients -- specific to the Atlantic Ocean. Researchers say they've located signs that it and other portions of Earth's oceanic conveyor belt are slowing. The global conveyor belt doesn't just move water, it moves heat too -- delivering it (in the case of the AMOC) from the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere to the North Atlantic. It is a vital component of climate as we know it. Should it continue to slow and become disrupted, it could spell drastic and abrupt climate change..." (Graphic credit: NASA).


Cruise Ships Dump 1 Billion Gallons of Sewage Into The Ocean Every Year. So please don't play in the ocean anytime soon. Quartz has the horrific details; here's an excerpt: "Some 20 million people board cruise ships every year. And while they might return to land with fond memories of umbrella drinks and shuffleboard, they leave a lot at sea. About a billion gallons (3.8 billion liters) of sewage (pdf), in fact. That’s according to Friends of the Earth, a non-governmental environmental group, which used US Environmental Protection Agency data to calculate arrive at that gross figure..."

Photo credit above: "These city-sized behemoths generate a lot of waste." (Reuters/Keith Bedford).


Half of Americans Don't Want Their Sons Playing Football, Poll Shows. Here's the intro to a story at Bloomberg Politics: "Television ratings are up and merchandise sales are booming, but longer-term trends don’t look as rosy for football. According to a new Bloomberg Politics poll, 50 percent of Americans say they wouldn't want their son to play the sport and only 17 percent believe it’ll grow in popularity in the next 20 years..."

File photo credit: AP Photo/Bradley Leeb.


How Your Heatbeat Will Make Passwords Obsolete. But what happens when my high blood pressure acts up? Here's a clip from CNN: "Thought your fingerprint was secure? Think again. The unique pattern on the tip of your fingers can easily be copied and used to access your most personal information. As PIN numbers and passwords prove redundant in protecting data, tech companies are looking to convert bodily features into secure identity authenticators. Bionym, the Toronto-based biometrics technology company, have introduced The Nymi -- a wristband that measures heartbeats to authenticate identity. Its embedded sensor reads the electrical pulses produced by your heartbeat, which is unique to each of us..."


Wine-Flavored Ice Cream? And here I thought pizza was the perfect food. Chocolate Cabernet anyone?


28 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

29 F. average high on December 10.

13 F. high on December 10, 2013.

December 10, 1983: Nine cars fell through the ice at the same time on Buffalo Lake in central Minnesota. There was only 5 to 6 inches of ice on the lake.

December 10, 1979: The temperature dropped in Roseville from 48 degrees at 2 pm to zero by dawn.

December 10, 1916: Montevideo had its fifty-second consecutive day with no precipitation.


TODAY: Mostly cloudy. PM thaw. Winds: South 5-10. High: 34

THURSDAY NIGHT: More clouds, fog possible. Low: 29

FRIDAY: Clouds & fog, turning milder. High: 41

SATURDAY: Foggy & gray. Touch of March. Wake-up: 33. High: 49

SUNDAY: Mild and murky. A little PM rain. Wake-up: 45. High: 51

MONDAY: Unsettled, turning colder. Light mix southern MN? Wake-up: 31. High: 35

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, closer to average. Wake-up: 24. High: 31

WEDNESDAY: Peeks of sun. Still quiet. Wake-up: 20. High: near 30


Climate Stories....

Global Weirding Is Here. Here is a terrific visualization of future emission scenarios and impacts on weather volatility.


Editorial: Human Nature vs. Global Warming. Humans Are Winning, And That's Bad News. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "You’d almost think the world has no intention of fixing this problem. In which assumption you would be at least partially correct. If the world could fix its greenhouse gas problems painlessly, it would have been done long ago. But this is a problem that — if you address it seriously — would require significant lifestyle changes on the part of every human being living in even modestly developed nations. No politician who wants to keep his or her job is going to do that by preaching sacrifice..."


The Secret Deal To Save The Planet. Here's an excerpt of the historic agreement between China and the USA to lower greenhouse gas emissions at RollingStone: "...The agreement comes at a time when awareness of the risks of climate change has never been higher, thanks to the sobering accretion of extreme weather events around the world. But the prospects for significant action to reduce carbon pollution have never been lower. Which is why virtually everyone in the climate world was stunned when the agreement was announced on November 12th..." (File photo above: NASA).


Can America's Desert Cities Adapt Before They Dry Out And Die? Water will become a stark manifestation of the climate volatility we're already witnessing. You may not care about a few degrees and more heat waves in the summer. Odds are you will care if the water supply runs out. Here's an excerpt from Fast Company: "...With some scientists saying California could be in the midst of a 35-year megadrought, and other parts of the southwest feeling the same strain, desert cities in America will have to cope with more water scarcity, projected climate-change-induced temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and a continuing growth in population. Some estimates put the population of the Greater Phoenix area at around 28 million by the year 2050, from its current population of about 4 million. That's a lot of extra water. There are several ways to combat these problems and change the ways desert cities exist..."


Water Terrorism: How Militant Groups Are Taking Advantage of Climate Change Impacts. As a general rule dry areas are getting drier, wet areas are becoming wetter over time. Here's an excerpt of a story at Breaking Energy that caught my eye: "...One of the more salient concerns to emerge from the impact of a warming planet is water scarcity, as scientists have inextricably correlated these two concepts for decades. However, what we are seeing now are terrorist groups taking advantage of areas with water shortages and manipulating water resources as a coercive tactic. The militant group, the Islamic State (ISIS or ISL) has put the issue in focus as a significant security concern and humanitarian crisis. For many geographically-disadvantaged nations in the world that are already dealing with water concerns, the impact of climate change isn’t going to be felt 20, 30, or 40 years from now. The impacts are being felt today and will only worsen as time goes on..."


How MoMA, How "Tactical Urbanism" Can Preserve The Future of Cities. CityLab takes a look at how mega-cities may be able to factor rising sea level into future growth plans; here's an excerpt: "...The teams working in Lagos (NLÉ, Lagos and Amsterdam, and Zoohaus/Inteligencias Colectivas, Madrid) and Hong Kong (MAP Office, Hong Kong, and Network Architecture Lab, Columbia University, New York), however, smartly address the looming issue of sea-level rise affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations. The basis for some of their floating, Venice-like schemes is appropriately vernacular, drawing on decades of local knowledge about how to live with water..."

Graphic credit above: "A rendering of Future Lagos, with city design that works with rising sea levels." Courtesy NLÉ and Zoohaus/Inteligencias Colectivas.


Once-In-1200-Year-California Drought Bears Signature of Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Joe Romm at ThinkProgress: "...It is the combination of reduced precipitation and record temperatures that make this a 1-in-1200-year drought. This was the same point made to me by California-based climatologist Dr. Peter Gleick, one of the world’s leading water experts. He pointed out that in fact “the last 36 months are the hottest AND driest 36 months in the instrumental record. for California,” and sent me these NOAA charts..."


Global Warming Isn't Causing California Drought? Report Triggers Storm. Many climate scientists are pointing out that the recent NOAA report focused on California was a precipitation study, not a drought study. Here's an excerpt of a summary of some new research at NBC News: "Natural conditions, not human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, are the driving force behind California's three-year dry spell, scientists on a federal task force concluded Monday. But the report came under fire from some experts who said it downplayed other factors that have humanity's fingerprints on them. The evidence suggests a naturally induced "warm patch" of water in the western Pacific helped to create a high-pressure ridge that blocked precipitation from entering California, the experts said at a news conference to release the report..."

Photo credit above: Noah Berger, Reuters.


Asking What "Caused" California's Drought Misses The Point. Meteorologist Eric Holthaus addresses the impact of extreme heat and soil moisture depletion on the historic California drought in Slate; here's a clip that caught my eye: "...One of Gleick’s main criticisms of the NOAA study was that “they completely ignored the temperature question, which is by far the clearest signal.” He continued, “There’s just no dispute that temperatures globally are going up. There’s no dispute that temperatures regionally in California are going up. There’s no dispute that the last three years have been the hottest in the instrumental record [in California]. And, there’s no dispute that hotter temperatures increase water demand in California. The exact same drought with normal temperatures is not as bad...”

File Photo credit above: "In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, a dock sits high and dry at the end of a boat ramp yards away from the edge of Folsom Lake near Folsom, Calif. Don’t blame man-made global warming for the devastating California drought, a new federal report says. A report issued Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said natural variations _ mostly a La Nina weather oscillation _ were the primary drivers behind the drought that has now stretched to three years." (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)


Dramatically Increasing Chance of Extremely Hot Summers Since The 2004 European Heatwave. The abstract and paper are available at nature.com.

Weekend Weather Preview: Hints of Late March

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: December 9, 2014 - 10:58 PM

Less Misery

One of my favorite attorneys (oxymoron?) sent me a holiday card that read "Great working with you and your staff. Now, can you please fix the (censored) weather?" I'm just the messenger, Curt.

A story at FiveThirtyEight Science (on my blog) suggests that Rapid City has America's most unpredictable weather. Other landlocked Midwestern cities top the list, including the Twin Cities. No kidding.

And leave it to meteorologists to leave you feeling worse than you thought possible, from summer heat index to winter wind chills.

A NOAA meteorologist in Omaha came up with the WMI, the Winter Misery Index, also known as the Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index, which factors duration of cold and snow. Last winter's WMI score for Minnesota was the highest since 1983. That sounds about right.

I am a gullible naive optimist, but I still predict this winter won't be as severe as last with a more moderate Pacific breeze and fewer icy shotgun blasts from the north.

The warm front we've been advertising for 2 weeks is still coming: 40s by late week, 50F Saturday with some rain Sunday.

Most of the snow in your yard will be gone within 5 days and I don't see any fresh piles of white between now and Christmas.

Expect a little less misery this winter.


The Accumulated Winter Season Severity Index. Yes, WMI roles off the tongue, but the original index is the AWSSI. Here's an excerpt of a good explanation of how this running winter index is calculated and updated from the Midwest Regional Climate Center: "...Daily scores are calculated based on scores assigned to temperature, snowfall, and snow depth thresholds. The daily scores are accumulated through the winter season, allowing a running total of winter severity in the midst of a season as well as a final, cumulative value characterizing the full season. Accumulations of the temperature and snow components of the index are computed separately and then added together for the total index. This allows comparison of the relative contribution of each to the total score..."

* More information on Barbara Boustead's new winter rating scale from the AMS, the American Meteorological Society.


December Warm Front. It's bordering on pathetic, but considering 50F is the average high on April 1 in the Twin Cities we can be forgiven for a few feeble high-fives later this week. 40s seem likely by Friday, a good shot at 50F over the weekend, even with potentially dense advection fog Saturday and a little rain on Sunday. It cools off a bit next week, but temperatures still run 10-15F above average.


Another West Coast Storm. Although not quite as intense as last week's swirl of moisture pushing in off the Pacific, flooding rains spread from north to south, right down the coast over the next 48 hours, accompanied by 20-40 mph winds. You can see the Nor'easter that dumped heavy rain on major northeastern cities; moisture from this wobbling storm forecast to linger over interior New England, dumping enough snow to shovel and plow from Manchester and Stowe to Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo.


California Rainfall Amounts Exceeding Flash Flood Guidance. This is a graphic from our Alerts Broadcaster service which alerts corporate customers of potential extreme weather that can impact operations. F060 is the 60-hour rainfall totals. HR1, HR3 and HR6 are the 1, 3 and 6 hour flash flood guidance numbers, the amount of rain over that period of time required to initiate urban and small stream flooding. Close to 2" of rain is predicted for the Bay Area, where flash floods, mudslides, road closures and even power outages are possible over the next 48 hours.


New England Snow Event. The Nor'easter that sparked coastal flooding from Delaware and New Jersey into New England is forecast to temporarily stall, dumping as much as 8-12" of snow on upstate New York and much of interior New England over the next 60 hours. Animation: NOAA and HAMweather.com.


Turning Colder by Christmas? GFS model data suggests a southward dip in the jet stream in 2 weeks as colder air finally spills into the Lower 48. Right now it doesn't look like a frigid outbreak, but after a relatively mild spell spilling over into December 22-23 we may see a temperature correction in time for Santa's arrival. Whether this push of colder air spins up a storm capable of accumulating snow is yet to be determined. Map: GrADS;COLA/IGES.


Is Weather A Barometer of Painful Joints and Achy Bones. Yes, it would appear that many in our midst are walking, talking barometers - much more sensitive to changes in barometric pressure (and moisture) than others. Here's an excerpt from an interesting story at The Star Tribune: "...That’s a widespread belief supported by an abundance of testimonials from aging jocks and grandmas everywhere who claim that they’re able to predict weather changes by increased aches and pains. The phenomenon seems to strike arthritis sufferers the most, but it afflicts others, too. Migraine headaches, sinus problems, toothaches and other maladies have been linked to weather. People with previous injuries — maybe a broken bone — say they can feel temperature shifts in those sore spots..." (Image credit: NASA).


Which City Has The Most Unpredictable Weather? Oh to be a meteorologist in Rapid City, South Dakota. The greatest weather extremes in general come near the center of large continents, well away from the moderating influence of warmer ocean water. Here's an excerpt from a long but excellent story at Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight: "...But Rapid City isn’t alone; other cities in the Great Plains and Upper Midwest dominate the most-unpredictable list. After Rapid City, those with the most unpredictable weather are Great Falls, Montana; Houghton, Michigan; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota; Duluth, Minnesota; Bismarck, North Dakota; Aberdeen, South Dakota; Grand Island, Nebraska; and Glasgow, Montana. For the most part, these cities are landlocked. The presence of lakes or oceans can contribute to weather problems — for instance, the huge amounts of lake-effect snow in Houghton, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (about twice as much as in notoriously snowy Buffalo, New York). But water usually does more to regulate temperatures and severe weather..."


The Story Behind The Winter Misery Index. Meteorologist Andrew Freedman had a good story about the origin of the WMI at Mashable back in February that's worth a read; here's an excerpt: "...The index attempts to put the “badness” or “goodness” of winter into historical context, Bousted said. The index is based on daily temperature and precipitation data, including snowfall and snow depth. It uses thresholds of temperature and snowfall to assign a score to each day, which gets tallied up throughout a season, with a running tally and a final score at the end of the year to gauge a winter’s severity. The scores correspond to a category, with a one-through-five system — with five being the worst — similar to those used for other severe weather phenomena..." (Graphic credit above: Minnesota DNR).


El Nino Lingers into Mid 2015. NOAA says a 65% chance of El Nino this winter, lasting into the middle of 2015. Details here. This is one of many reasons why I suspect the core of the upcoming winter season won't be as harsh as last winter.


Can America's Desert Cities Adapt Before They Dry Out And Die? Water will become a stark manifestation of the climate volatility we're already witnessing. You may not care about a few degrees and more heat waves in the summer. Odds are you will care if the water supply runs out. Here's an excerpt from Fast Company: "...With some scientists saying California could be in the midst of a 35-year megadrought, and other parts of the southwest feeling the same strain, desert cities in America will have to cope with more water scarcity, projected climate-change-induced temperature increases of up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and a continuing growth in population. Some estimates put the population of the Greater Phoenix area at around 28 million by the year 2050, from its current population of about 4 million. That's a lot of extra water. There are several ways to combat these problems and change the ways desert cities exist..."


5 Steps To Smarter Catastrophe Preparations. Because when you come right down to it, nobody ever expects a catastrophe to impact them, and I have yet to meet (anyone) who has backed up all the digital records they should be backing up, for personal and business. Here's a clip from a good summary at Property Casualty 360 of what you should consider to lower the odds of a post-catastrophe catastrophe: "...No one can be totally prepared for everything, but taking steps before a disaster strikes can minimize the impact for insurers and their policyholders. Here are some recommendations to help prepare for a wide variety of catastrophes.

General Preparation

  • Prepare a photo inventory of your home or office. Go room by room and take digital photos of the contents. Pay particular attention to antiques, unique works of art, office equipment and any irreplaceable items. Jewelry, furs, expensive “toys,” electronics, collections (i.e., stamps, coins, dolls, pottery, etc.) should be catalogued and may require their own policies depending on their value. Memories become fuzzy and establishing the value of heavily damaged items becomes a challenge after the fact..."


Getting Mooned. Chris Hadfield argues (quite convincingly) that we should ignore Mars for now and set up a permanent base on the moon at The Guardian.

Life Gets Better With Age? David Brooks has a great essay at The New York Times.

4DX Movies, complete with scents, rain, wind, motion, even bubbles? Get ready for a more immersive movie experience that makes 3-D as cutting edge as Betamax, according to a story at Vulture.


22 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.

29 F. average high on December 9.

12 F. high on December 9, 2013.

1" of snow on the ground - officially - in the Twin Cities.

December 9 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: MPX National Weather Service office:

1992: By this time there is partial ice cover in the Duluth harbor.

1979: Heat wave across Minnesota. High of 54 at Twin Cities and 57 at Winona.

1978: Alexandria ends it fourteen day stretch of low temperatures at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

1889: Late season thunderstorm observed at Maple Plain.


TODAY: Mostly cloudy, a bit milder. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 32

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds and fog. Low: 24

THURSDAY: Peeks of sun, lose a layer. High: 38

FRIDAY: Patchy clouds. Feeling better. Wake-up: 27. High: 42

SATURDAY: Gray & milder with some fog. Feels like March. Wake-up: 40. High: near 50

SUNDAY: Soggy & foggy, a little rain and drizzle likely. Wake-up: 47. High: 51

MONDAY: More fog, light rain and drizzle. Wake-up: 41. High: 43

TUESDAY: Light mix possible. Sloppy. Wake-up: 32. High: 34


Climate Stories....

'It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.'

 - Upton Sinclair


Once-In-1200-Year-California Drought Bears Signature of Climate Change. Here's an excerpt from Joe Romm at ThinkProgress: "...It is the combination of reduced precipitation and record temperatures that make this a 1-in-1200-year drought. This was the same point made to me by California-based climatologist Dr. Peter Gleick, one of the world’s leading water experts. He pointed out that in fact “the last 36 months are the hottest AND driest 36 months in the instrumental record. for California,” and sent me these NOAA charts..."


Global Warming Isn't Causing California Drought? Report Triggers Storm. Many climate scientists are pointing out that the recent NOAA report focused on California was a precipitation study, not a drought study. Here's an excerpt of a summary of some new research at NBC News: "Natural conditions, not human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases, are the driving force behind California's three-year dry spell, scientists on a federal task force concluded Monday. But the report came under fire from some experts who said it downplayed other factors that have humanity's fingerprints on them. The evidence suggests a naturally induced "warm patch" of water in the western Pacific helped to create a high-pressure ridge that blocked precipitation from entering California, the experts said at a news conference to release the report..."

Photo credit above: Noah Berger, Reuters.


Asking What "Caused" California's Drought Misses The Point. Meteorologist Eric Holthaus addresses the impact of extreme heat and soil moisture depletion on the historic California drought in Slate; here's a clip that caught my eye: "...One of Gleick’s main criticisms of the NOAA study was that “they completely ignored the temperature question, which is by far the clearest signal.” He continued, “There’s just no dispute that temperatures globally are going up. There’s no dispute that temperatures regionally in California are going up. There’s no dispute that the last three years have been the hottest in the instrumental record [in California]. And, there’s no dispute that hotter temperatures increase water demand in California. The exact same drought with normal temperatures is not as bad...”

File Photo credit above: "In this Oct. 6, 2014 file photo, a dock sits high and dry at the end of a boat ramp yards away from the edge of Folsom Lake near Folsom, Calif. Don’t blame man-made global warming for the devastating California drought, a new federal report says. A report issued Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said natural variations _ mostly a La Nina weather oscillation _ were the primary drivers behind the drought that has now stretched to three years." (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)


Dramatically Increasing Chance of Extremely Hot Summers Since The 2004 European Heatwave. The abstract and paper are available at nature.com.


Louisiana's Moon Shot. ProPublica has the second installment of a important series focused on what's happening in Louisiana. It's not a computer model - it's reality; the water is rising and wetlands are disappearing. Here's an excerpt: "...Southeastern Louisiana might best be described as a layer cake made of Jell-O, floating in a swirling Jacuzzi of steadily warming, rising water. Scientists and engineers must prevent the Jell-O from melting – while having no access to the Jacuzzi controls. The problem is manmade. Over the last 80 years, Louisiana’s coast has been starved of sediment by river levees and eviscerated by canals dredged for oil and gas extraction. Now, southeastern Louisiana is sinking at one of the fastest rates on the planet as the Gulf is rising..."


Heat Waves in Europe Will Increase, Study Finds. A prolonged heat wave in 2003 resulted in the premature deaths of nearly 70,000 Europeans. A slowly warming atmosphere will increase the odds (load the dice) in favor of more extreme heat events, as reported in The New York Times; here's a clip: "...Now, three scientists from the Met Office, the British weather agency, have concluded that human-caused global warming is going to make European summer heat waves "commonplace" by the 2040s. Their findings, published Monday in the online journal Nature Climate Change, suggest that once every five years, Europe is likely to experience "a very hot summer," in which temperatures are about 1.6 degrees Celsius, or 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit, above the 1961-90 average..." (Image credit above: Wikipedia).


Deadly Heat in Europe 10X More Likely Than Decade Ago. Climate Central has a slightly different perspective on the new research referenced above; here's an excerpt: "...The new study shows that a very hot summer could now occur every five years and a heat wave like the one in 2003 could occur every 127 years. The previous study just a decade earlier suggested that such a heat wave was likely less than once every 1,000 years. “Our study, which comes 10 years later, shows that a rapid increase in the frequency of such events has taken place within the last 10-15 years and confirms that this increase in the frequency will continue...”


Is Earth's Temperature About To Soar? There is no evidence of a substantive "pause" in the heating of Earth's atmosphere, oceans and cryosphere. For a detailed explanation check out the Tamino post at Open Mind; here's an excerpt: "...Therefore, for no choice of start year, for no choice of data set, can you make a valid claim to have demonstrated a slowdown in warming. As a matter of fact, in no case does the p-value for any choice of start year, for any choice of data set, get as low as the 10% level. To put it another way, there’s just no valid evidence of a “slowdown” which will stand up to statistical rigor. Bottom line: not only is there a lack of valid evidence of a slowdown, it’s not even close..."


It's Time To Start Ignoring The Climate Deniers. Wait, climate change denier denial? Whoa. Here are two quick clips from an essay at The Globe and Mail that resonated: "...I do not believe that climate change deniers exist. I have heard the statistics and have seen the graphs, but I am not convinced. So I do what the supposed deniers do – I ignore them and move on....The next time you find yourself in a conversation with friends and colleagues about climate change, I would ask that you do one thing – skip over the discussion about the deniers. By talking about the deniers, the debate focuses on how to fix the problem of denial rather than climate change itself. Not everyone has to believe in it; what is required is that most of us do something about it..."


The Plan To Get Climate Change Denial Into Schools. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Atlantic: "...Truth in Texas Textbooks formed last year to shape how climate change and scores of other topics are taught. It has no political or religious affiliation but organizers recruit volunteers through tea-party networks and church groups—as well as teachers associations, Rotary clubs, and other civic organizations—and have accused publishers of creating textbooks with an "anti-Christian" and "anti-American" bias. Teaching that the global-warming theory is controversial reflects public opinion, as there is a sharp divide over the connection between human activity and Earth's evolving climate. But that approach is sharply at odds with climate scientists, who nearly universally believe the former is driving the latter..."

Indian Summer Alert by Midweek - 2014: Third Warmest Worldwide, To Date

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: October 12, 2014 - 9:14 PM

Everybody Sells

"Hey Paul, remember me? You came to my 4th grade class 27 years ago. I was the guy in the back of the room!" Um, no. But I'll pretend if it makes you happy.

My short-term memory is a mess but I remember my 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Eisenhart. "Use action words!" she instructed. "It's not fair but people will judge you by how well you speak" she added. She was right.

Whether selling products or services, advancing public policy or just trying to convince your 16 year old to take AP math, the words you choose are critical.

Substance matters. So does effective communication. That's why public speaking is so critical - learning to tame those inner butterflies.

After a weekend frost/freeze the growing season is over, statewide. Bugs, pollen and drippy dew points are a thing of the past.

A frontal passage sparks a few hours of showers today; a major storm over the southern Plains pushes a pinwheel of showers into Wisconsin later this week. Highs top 60F much of this week, and after a flurry of weekend jackets (highs near 50F) a warm ridge of high pressure returns next week. I see more 60s, even a 70-degree high or two in late October.

My Halloween costume this year? I think I'll go as "Al Nino".


Blah Monday - Then Touch of Indian Summer. Now that we've had our first frost/freeze we can (officially) call it Indian Summer. Showers keep temperatures in the 50s today, but the sun returns Tuesday into Thursday morning, with highs in the low 60s, even a few mid-60s are possible close to home. Winds swing around to the northwest by late week - weekend jackets give way to another warming trend. By the end of next week highs may be in the 60s to near 70F.


Flash Flood Potential. Models are printing out 3"+ rains for Atlanta, Chicago and Kansas City, as a large, slow-moving storm pushes from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.

Full Latitude Trough. A slow-motion swirl of cold air aloft lifts a swirl of heavy showers and T-storms across the Plains into the Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and East Coast by Thursday. Heavy rain pushes into the Pacific Northwest, but no significant rain brewing for California - yet. 60-hour NAM accumulated rain courtesy of NOAA and HAMweather.


Tornado Potential Index. A rare mid-October outbreak of severe storms and possible tornadoes is likely later today from near Houston to Shreveport, Little Rock and Memphis as this storm spins up. TPI Index: HAMweather. NOAA SPC may have to upgrade the risk from "slight" to "moderate".


384 Hour Outlook. The map above shows 850 mb winds (3,500 feet or so) two weeks from tomorrow, on October 28. GFS guidance whips up an impressive storm for New England, but it looks like a mild zonal flow for the western half of the USA, with a mild bias from the Dakotas into Minnesota. We'll see more 60s, and I don't think we've seen the last of the 70-degree warmth just yet. 90? Dream on.

First Metro Seattle Tornado Warning in 45 Years? A swarm of waterspouts were spotted near Tacoma on Saturday; more details from vancitybuzz.com: "...The tornado warning was called off within the same hour it was issued. It is the first tornado warning for the Metro Seattle region in nearly 45 years, KOMO News reports. For the Metro Vancouver, the last confirmed tornado sighting was in 1962. An unconfirmed event also happened in 1988 on the eastern fringes of the region..."


Brazil Drought Crisis Deepends in Sao Paulo. Much of Central and South America is experiencing drought conditions; here's an excerpt from The BBC: "The governor of the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo has asked for emergency clearance to siphon the remaining water out of the main reservoir serving Sao Paulo city, which has almost run dry. After nine months of unprecedented drought, 95% of the water has gone. Geraldo Alckmin, re-elected in last week's elections, has been criticised for not imposing water rationing to tackle the crisis. Twenty-nine other Brazilian cities have been affected by the drought..." (Photo: AP).


Not Just California. Droughts Extend Across Americas. More perspective from NBC News; here's a clip: "...A dry spell has killed cattle and wiped out crops in Central America, parts of Colombia have seen rioting over scarce water, and southern Brazil is facing its worst dry spell in 50 years. In the U.S., the few who have taken notice of this wider water scarcity include a former director of the U.S. Geological Survey. Now editor-in-chief of the journal Science, Marcia McNutt last month penned an editorial highlighting what she called “a drought of crisis proportions” across the Americas..." (Photo credit: Andre Penner, AP).


Is California Headed To "Megadrought"? UT San Diego has the story, looking at previous dry spells across the western USA; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...In a study published this month, Cornell University researcher Toby Ault and some of his colleagues calculated the risk of a megadrought happening this century. Ault is a professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University. He and the other researchers concluded that natural circumstances and climate change combine to put the likelihood of a decade-long drought in the Southwest at 50 percent to 80 percent. And they estimate that the chance of a megadrought, which they define as a 35-year dry period, is 10 percent to 50 percent by the end of this century..."

Photo credit above: "In this photo taken Oct. 6, 2014, a dock sits high and dry at the end of a boat ramp yards away from the edge of Folsom Lake near Folsom, Calif. The California Department of Water Resources reported Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, the largest monthly decline in water use this year as the severity of California's drought hits home. Water suppliers reported that consumption fell 11.5 percent in August compared with the year before." (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) The Associated Press.


University of Miami's New Research Tank May Hold Key to Hurricane Forecasts. A monstrous aquarium that can simulate Category 5 hurricane winds and waves? You could sell tickets to this experience (life insurance policies too). Here's the intro to a story at The Miami Herald: "When hurricanes sweep across the ocean’s surface, they whip up a foamy mix of sea and air, swapping energy in a loop that can crank up the force of powerful storms. The physics of that exchange — nearly impossible to measure in the dangerous swirl of a real storm — has remained largely a mystery, vexing meteorologists who have struggled to improve intensity predictions even as they bettered forecast tracks. Now scientists have a shot at solving that puzzle with a new 38,000-gallon research tank unveiled this month at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami..."



Not Even George Clooney Can Change The Weather. Yes, think twice before buying a luxury manor home on the banks of the Thames River in England. Here's an excerpt from the U.K. Mirror: "...George Clooney and new wife Amal may have just had the wedding of their dreams - but they're now suffering a headache over their marital home. The actor, who married the British lawyer in a lavish ceremony in Italy last month, bought Grade II-listed Aberlash Manor in Sonning, Berkshire, unaware he would have to spend about £50,000 on flood defences because it's so close to the Thames..."


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article2684450.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article2684450.html#storylink=cpy

Our Sun In A Halloween Mood? Check out this article from Tech Times: "...Scientists at NASA got this ghoulish image by combining several images of active regions on the sun. "The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy — markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona," according to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center...."

Image credit above: NASA / GSFC / SDO.



61 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.

60 F. average high on October 12.

58 F. high on October 12, 2013.

October 12 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: MPX National Weather Service:

1917: Record low temperatures occurred across central Minnesota with temperatures ranging from the low to mid teens to the upper teens and lower 20s. St. Cloud had the coldest temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit; likewise, Mora recorded a low of 13 degrees Fahrenheit.

1880: An early blizzard struck southwest and west central counties in Minnesota. Huge drifts exceeding 20 ft in the Canby area lasted until the next spring.

1820: Snowstorm at Ft. Snelling dumps 11 inches.


TODAY: Cool and damp. Few hours of showers. Winds: N 5-10. High: 56

MONDAY NIGHT: A few more showers and sprinkles, mainly east metro. Low: 46

TUESDAY: Partly sunny and pleasant. High: 63

WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun, no complaints. Wake-up: 43. High: 62

THURSDAY: Clouds increase. Wisconsin showers. Wake-up: 44. High: 63

FRIDAY: Intervals of sun, turning breezy and cooler. Wake-up: 48. High: 58

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, jackets return. Wake-up: 41. High: near 50

SUNDAY: Early sun, PM showers. Wake-up: 37. High: 51


Climate Stories...

Simmering September. It's not official, but it would appear, based on NASA GISS data that after the warmest August on record, worldwide, September may also have the distinction of being the warmest on record. Check out the temperature anomalies over Antarctica above, as much as 4-9C warmer than average.

* Preliminary NASA GISS data suggests that 2014 (January - September) is the 3rd warmest on record, worldwide.


After Record Heat in August. August was the warmest ever observed over global land and water, according to NASA GISS. Once again look at the temperature anomalies over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.


"...Bogus scepticism does not centre on an impartial search for the truth, but on a no-holds-barred defence of a preconceived ideological position. The bogus sceptic is thus, in reality, a disguised dogmatist, made all the more dangerous for his success in appropriating the mantle of the unbiased and open-minded inquirer..." - Richard Wilson in an article at NewStatesman; details below.


The Gathering Storm. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Secretary of State John Kerry at Huffington Post that got my attention: "...Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, who leads the U.S. Pacific Command, said climate change "will cripple the security environment." Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (Ret.), the president of the American Security Project, wrote that "addressing the consequences of changes in the Earth's climate is not simply about saving polar bears or preserving the beauty of mountain glaciers. Climate change is a threat to our national security. Taking it head on is about preserving our way of life." General Gordon R. Sullivan (Ret.) -- the former Army chief of staff -- said that "climate instability will lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world..." (File photo: AP).


These 14 States Have a Climate Action Plan - The Rest Of You Are Screwed. Possibly my favorite headline of the week. Minnesota is catching up, the state seems to be taking adaptation and resilience seriously. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic CityLab: "...Researchers at the center, a D.C. policy research group based at Georgetown University's law school, surveyed states' climate adaptation policies—plans to build sea walls, for example, or to shift hazardous waste facilities out of flood zones. They found that only a minority of states—14 right now—have fully fledged adaptation plans with specific goals in place. Nine more have adaptation plans in the works. The rest have not developed statewide adaptation plans (though a number of these states do have plans in place at the local or regional level)..."


Against The Evidence. What's the critical difference between doubt and dogmatism? Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at NewStatesman: "...In a sceptical age, even those disseminating wholly bogus ideas - from corporate pseudo-science to 9/11 conspiracy theories - will often seek to appropriate the language of rational inquiry. But there is a meaningful difference between being a "sceptic" and being in denial. The genuine sceptic forms his beliefs through a balanced evaluation of the evidence. The sceptic of the bogus variety cherry-picks evidence on the basis of a pre-existing belief, seizing on data, however tenuous, that supports his position, and yet declaring himself "sceptical" of any evidence, however compelling, that undermines it..."

Flashes of Indian Summer - Mild Bias Lingers into Late October

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: October 11, 2014 - 9:51 PM

No Drama October

If only we could bottle this magic weather elixir and the view out the window. Trees are wearing their rainbow jackets, posing for pictures. A stubble of frost has ended the growing season, and the sneezing season. Allergy-suffers can breathe easier - and all the mosquitoes have died and gone to bug heaven. RIP.

A preliminary scan of NOAA data suggests October sees the fewest watches and warnings of any month. Big storms can spin up, with only a small risk of extremes that can get you in serious trouble like tornadoes, flash floods, ice storms or blizzards. It's the in-between season.

Patterns can be similar, but never identical. Odds don't favor another 30-year winter like we had last year. I'm seeing cues that suggest winter snow and cold closer to average, even a bit milder than normal.

Winds and clouds slowly increase today, any showers holding off until after the Vikings game. Rain spills into Monday, and a southern storm may push more showers back into Minnesota by Thursday. A minor puff of Canadian air arrives late week, but what really caught my eye was ECMWF (European) guidance for next week. A massive ridge of high pressure sparks a string of 60s, even 70F.

Yes, I'm smitten.

* photo credit: Mike Hall Photography.


Technicolor Rainbow. Actually it was a double rainbow (notice how the colors reverse as white light is refracted twice within prism-like raindrops). Photo taken in Missoula, Montana courtesy of grantr44.


Eastern Pacific Trough - Modified Zonal Flow for USA. Watch for the uber-persistent ridge of high pressure over the west coast to begin weakening in the weeks ahead, with at least the possibility of some precious rains pushing into California. If this pattern emerges it would push a warm ridge east of the Rockies, meaning a mild bias into at least the end of October. 500 mb winds aloft forecast for October 17-21 courtesy of NOAA.


Full-Latitude October Storm. NAM guidance shows a significant surge of Gulf moisture pushing across the Plains and Mississippi River Valley into the Midwest Monday and Tuesday, with a few showers rotating into the Great Lakes, even Minnesota and Wisconsin by late Wednesday and Thursday. Short-term a trailing front pushes a few rain showers across Minnesota later today and Monday, but the heaviest rains this week fall to our south and east. Some 3 inch amounts are predicted from near Des Moines to Nashville and Little Rock. 60-hour accumulated rainfall: HAMweather.



A Fairly Nice Couple of Weeks. Last week was remarkable, and the next 10-14 days promises to be pretty nice, especially next week. The metro area brushes 60F today, again Tuesday, with a better chance of a streak of 60s emerging next week as a ridge of high pressure builds north. I expect dry weather for the Vikes game; a period of rain tomorrow and a possibilty of showers by Thursday as a pinwheel of southern moisture brushes the Upper Midwest. MSP Meteogram: WeatherSpark.


Peaking Fall Color. This will be the weekend to check out ripening leaves from Alexandria Lakes to the Brainerd Lakes area, much of northern Minnesota and the Red River Valley already past peak. My hunch is that metro trees will peak in the next 7-8 days, peak color along the Mississippi River is still 1-2 weeks away. Source: Minnesota DNR.


Changing Day Length Effects on Daily Temperature. Here's a clip from the latest installment of Minnesota WeatherTalk, courtesy of Dr. Mark Seeley: "...As we continue to lose daylight hours this month, you may notice an increase in the daily temperature range. Though the sun will heat the dry landscape substantially during the day (as we have seen this week), the longer nights allow for more cooling to occur, dropping the overnight lows to a greater degree than just a month ago. This produces a larger daily temperature range in the absence of significant cloud cover (note many observers reported a 30-35 degrees F temperature rise on Monday, October 6th)..."


University of Miami's New Research Tank May Hold Key to Hurricane Forecasts. A monstrous aquarium that can simulate Category 5 hurricane winds and waves? You could sell tickets to this experience (life insurance policies too). Here's the intro to a story at The Miami Herald: "When hurricanes sweep across the ocean’s surface, they whip up a foamy mix of sea and air, swapping energy in a loop that can crank up the force of powerful storms. The physics of that exchange — nearly impossible to measure in the dangerous swirl of a real storm — has remained largely a mystery, vexing meteorologists who have struggled to improve intensity predictions even as they bettered forecast tracks. Now scientists have a shot at solving that puzzle with a new 38,000-gallon research tank unveiled this month at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami..."


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article2684450.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article2684450.html#storylink=cpy

Study Says Gulf and East Coasts May See Tripling of Flood Events By 2030. Rising seas are compounding coastal flood potential; here's an excerpt from VICE News: "...Over the next 30 years, King Tide-like conditions might become the "new normal" as "more tidal flooding is virtually guaranteed," according to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). UCS analyzed flooding in 52 coastal communities, from Maine to Texas, and found that many of these areas now experience dozens of tidal floods per year, up to four times the number of tidal flooding days as occurred in 1970. By 2030, two-thirds of these communities are likely to see at least triple the number of high tide floods annually, says UCS..."

File photo: Virginia Department of Transportation.


Decade of Destruction: The Wrath of 15 Hurricanes In One Infographic. Here's an excerpt from an interesting story (and terrific infographic) from Capital Weather Gang: "...The Master of Public Administration program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill created the infographic below that summarizes the overwhelming toll of these storms which collectively claimed over 2,000 lives, destroyed millions of homes, and cost $310 billion. Incredibly, the last “major” hurricane – ranked category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale – to make landfall in this stretch was Wilma in 2005. The storms thereafter were “only” category 1 and 2s, yet still left damages in the billions of dollars..."


Wisconsin City Votes To Get Rid of Tornado Sirens. I know sirens are expensive to maintain, and a switchover to text alerts sure sounds like a good idea, assuming everyone is walking around Antigo, WI with a smart phone and everyone has the capacity to receive text alerts. Until that day comes I'm not sure about this one; here's an excerpt from local8now.com: "The Antigo City Countil voted Thursday night to do away with its two traditional tornado sirens and switch to a text alert system. The Langade County Emergency Management Director says the warning system needs at least $35,000 worth of upgrades to continue functioning, in addition to adding another one..."


The Suicide Crisis. Kudos to USA Today for running a series on America's silent epidemic, the second greatest cause of death for young people. Here's an excerpt from Part 1 of 4 painful, yet critically important chapters within the larger narrative. It's worth a read: "...Americans are far more likely to kill themselves than each other. Homicides have fallen by half since 1991, but the U.S. suicide rate keeps climbing. The nearly 40,000 American lives lost each year make suicide the nation's 10th-leading cause of death, and the second-leading killer for those ages 15-34. Each suicide costs society about $1 million in medical and lost-work expenses and emotionally victimizes an average of 10 other people. Yet a national effort to stem this raging river of self-destruction — 90% of which occurs among Americans suffering mental illness — is in disarray..."


Our Sun In A Halloween Mood? Check out this article from Tech Times: "...Scientists at NASA got this ghoulish image by combining several images of active regions on the sun. "The active regions appear brighter because those are areas that emit more light and energy — markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona," according to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center...."

Image credit above: NASA / GSFC / SDO.



31 F. low Saturday morning, first sub-freezing temperature since April 18 in the Twin Cities.

57 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.

61 F. average high on October 11.

75 F. high on October 11, 2013.

October 11 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service:

1969: Snow accumulated in several locations. Minneapolis received 2 inches, while St. Cloud record 3.6 inches, Redwood Falls had 1.7 inches, and Springfield recorded 1.5 inches.

1918: Dry fall weather set the stage for a dangerous fire threat. Several fires roared through large area of Carlton and St. Louis County. Hardest hit were the towns of Cloquet, Moose Lake and Brookston. The Carlton County Vidette called it a "Hurricane of burning leaves and smoke." At least 453 people died, possibly as many as 1,000. Over 11,000 people were homeless.


TODAY: Partly sunny, breezy. Late showers. WInds: S 20. High: 60

SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds, a few showers. Low: 50

COLUMBUS DAY: Damp, periods of rain. High: 56

TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, pleasant. Wake-up: 43. High: 61

WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase. Wake-up: 41. High: 58

THURSDAY: Unsettled, chance of a few showers. Wake-up: 48. High: 57

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, cooler breeze. Wake-up: 45. High: 56

SATURDAY: Fading sun, showers at night. Wake-up: 38. High: 57


Climate Stories...

"...Bogus scepticism does not centre on an impartial search for the truth, but on a no-holds-barred defence of a preconceived ideological position. The bogus sceptic is thus, in reality, a disguised dogmatist, made all the more dangerous for his success in appropriating the mantle of the unbiased and open-minded inquirer..." - Richard Wilson in an article at NewStatesman; details below.


The Gathering Storm. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Secretary of State John Kerry at Huffington Post that got my attention: "...Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, who leads the U.S. Pacific Command, said climate change "will cripple the security environment." Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (Ret.), the president of the American Security Project, wrote that "addressing the consequences of changes in the Earth's climate is not simply about saving polar bears or preserving the beauty of mountain glaciers. Climate change is a threat to our national security. Taking it head on is about preserving our way of life." General Gordon R. Sullivan (Ret.) -- the former Army chief of staff -- said that "climate instability will lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world..." (File photo: AP).


These 14 States Have a Climate Action Plan - The Rest Of You Are Screwed. Possibly my favorite headline of the week. Minnesota is catching up, the state seems to be taking adaptation and resilience seriously. Here's an excerpt from The Atlantic CityLab: "...Researchers at the center, a D.C. policy research group based at Georgetown University's law school, surveyed states' climate adaptation policies—plans to build sea walls, for example, or to shift hazardous waste facilities out of flood zones. They found that only a minority of states—14 right now—have fully fledged adaptation plans with specific goals in place. Nine more have adaptation plans in the works. The rest have not developed statewide adaptation plans (though a number of these states do have plans in place at the local or regional level)..."


Against The Evidence. What's the critical difference between doubt and dogmatism? Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at NewStatesman: "...In a sceptical age, even those disseminating wholly bogus ideas - from corporate pseudo-science to 9/11 conspiracy theories - will often seek to appropriate the language of rational inquiry. But there is a meaningful difference between being a "sceptic" and being in denial. The genuine sceptic forms his beliefs through a balanced evaluation of the evidence. The sceptic of the bogus variety cherry-picks evidence on the basis of a pre-existing belief, seizing on data, however tenuous, that supports his position, and yet declaring himself "sceptical" of any evidence, however compelling, that undermines it..."


A Glimpse Of A New, Emerging Clean Energy Economy. Check out how many jobs Massachusetts has added focused on clean energy; this clip courtesy of Massachusetts Clean Energy Center: "...Sec. Kerry returned to his hometown with Sec. Hammond to make their climate pitch because of the success Massachusetts has seen in capturing the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy. In Commonwealth alone, clean energy represents a $10 billion industry, comprised of nearly 6,000 companies and more than 88,000 workers, with growth expected to continue for years to come..."


Sec. Kerry returned to his hometown with Sec. Hammond to make their climate pitch because of the success Massachusetts has seen in capturing the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy.

In Commonwealth alone, clean energy represents a $10 billion industry, comprised of nearly 6,000 companies and more than 88,000 workers, with growth expected to continue for years to come.

- See more at: http://www.masscec.com/blog/2014/10/09/global-fight-against-climate-change#sthash.keJKGUQy.dpuf

"The sceptic of the bogus variety cherry-picks evidence on the basis of a pre-existing belief, seizing on data, however tenuous, that supports his position, and yet declaring himself  "scepticalof any evidence, however compelling, that undermines it. Such an approach has become typical of those who deny the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change and devolve quickly into conspiracies instead."


Our Planet Is Going to Blow Past The "Two Degrees" Climate Limit. Here's a clip from a story at New Republic: "...This call to nix the two-degrees metric has spurred a backlash from the climate-science establishment, and, more importantly, it raises big financial questions for companies and consumers worldwide. If the two-degrees goal changes, then so might the many climate policies framed around itpolicies that translate into costs for polluters and profitable markets for clean-energy providers. At stake in this fight over a couple of degrees is potentially billions of dollars..."


The $9.7 Trillion Problem: Cyclones and Climate Change. An estimated 35 percent of the world's 7 billion people live in the potential path of cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons, etc). Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "You can do a lot with $9.7 trillion: buy all the real estate in Manhattan 12 times over, purchase 22 carbon copies of Apple, or an absurd quantity of apples. It’s also the amount of money that tropical cyclones could cost the global economy over the next century, especially if climate projections of fewer but more intense cyclones are accurate. In comparison to those losses, the cost of action to reduce emissions and beef up coastal preparedness is relatively cheap say researchers..."


Why Climate Change Litigation Could Soon Go Global. Canada's Globe and Mail has an intriguing story, one that should give trial lawyers a cheap thrill. Class action lawsuits down the road? Count on it. Here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "...Canadian oil and gas companies could soon find themselves on the hook for at least part of the damage. For as climate change costs increase, a global debate has begun about who should pay. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu recently called on global leaders to hold those responsible for climate damages accountable. “Just 90 corporations – the so-called carbon majors – are responsible for 63 per cent of CO2 emissions since the industrial revolution,” Tutu said. “It is time to change the profit incentive by demanding legal liability for unsustainable environmental practices...”

Friday - Monday: More November than October. Rain-Snow Mix Up North Friday Night?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: October 1, 2014 - 10:35 PM

Sloppy Miracle

The Talmud says "We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are." Someone once told me there are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

You may have serious doubts about alleged miracles as you slog home from work later today. Rain annoys commuters but look at the bright side: Minnesota is now drought-free. And this early October soaking is recharging soil moisture after a late summer dry spell, setting the stage for more agricultural miracles in 2015. And it's not snowing.

If anyone asks, last year the first flurries came October 19; the first inch of slush November 5-6. Pretty close to average, yet winter was anything but average. Let's take it one day at a time.

A second surge of rain clips the metro later today and tonight; more windblown showers tomorrow as a taste of early November arrives. Daytime highs hold near 50F tomorrow into Monday, before 60s return the middle of next week. Flurries are possible up north by tomorrow night; a metro frost can't be ruled out Sunday morning.

In defense of this wet, gloomy spell gray, soggy days are good for business.

Fewer distractions. Less time staring out the window.


Early Snow Red River Valley? Model guidance is hinting at an inch or two of slush Friday night near Bemidji and Hallock, although warm ground temperatures may trigger melting on contact. A coating of slush up north by Saturday morning? Very possible, and a few stray flakes may reach the MSP metro area late Friday night. North of Lake Superior over a foot of snow may fall as a cut-off low lingers, drawing in enough cold air for what may turn out to be a very significant snowfall. Insert gasp here. Map: Weatherbell.


More Early November Than Early October. A few models are hinting at a little wet snow reaching the Twin Cities by Friday night and early Saturday. Even if you spy a few flakes outside your window relatively mild ground temperatures should prevent anything from sticking.


An Early November - October Returns Next Week. Daytime highs may not climb out of the 40s Friday into Monday; if skies clear and winds ease frost may settle over many suburbs Sunday morning. Milder Pacific air returns next week with a good chance of highs topping 60F by midweek. Source: Weatherspark.


First Whiff of Winter. The leading edge of cooler air pushes a band of heavy rain from Kansas City into Chicago and Milwaukee today; a colder, second surge of Canadian air sweeping across the Dakotas into the Upper Mississippi Valley on Friday. 60-hour accumulated 4 km NAM rainfall product: NOAA and HAMweather.


California Has Already Burned Through $209 Million Wildfire Budget, and SoCal's Fire Season Has Just Begun. Here are a few excepts of a story at The Los Angeles Times: "California has burned through its wildfire-fighting budget -- $209 million -- just as it faces what is historically the worst of the fire season. And the state already has tapped into its reserves, pulling out $70 million more to combat drought-fueled blazes...Some of the costs of fighting state wildfires will be reimbursed by the federal government. But those funds are running low. Wildfires cost the U.S. about $125 billion annually. Earlier this month, state officials requested that Congress set up an emergency reserve, like California's, to help pay for extreme fires..."


Weather Service Storm Forecasts Get More Localized. I've been showing you examples of NOAA's new HRRR (3 km) model, but earlier this week they made it official, going from beta to a more general release. Here's an excerpt of a story from AP and 8 News NOW: "The next time some nasty storms are heading your way, the National Weather Service says it will have a better forecast of just how close they could come to you. The weather service on Tuesday started using a new high resolution computer model that officials say will dramatically improve forecasts for storms up to 15 hours in advance. It should better pinpoint where and when tornadoes, thunderstorms and blizzards are expected, so people could take cover..." (HRRR model guidance above: NOAA and HAMweather.)


Weather Report: Forecasts Improving As Climate Gets Wilder. Here are a few interesting nuggets, courtesy of The BBC: "...The UK's Met Office says its four-day forecast is now as accurate as its one-day forecast was 30 years ago. And Louis Uccellini, director of the National Weather Service, part of the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says: "We can now predict extreme weather events five to seven days in advance. "Twenty years ago we would only have been able to look one day ahead." These improvements have only come about after investing billions in better satellites, weather stations and supercomputers..."


Earth Lost 50% Of It's Wildlife In The Past 40 Years, Says WWF. Some grim news from the World Wildlife Federation - here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found. “If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human wellbeing..."

Photo credit above: "Rubbish dumped on the tundra outside llulissat in Greenland stand in stark contrast to icebergs behind from the Sermeq Kujullaq or llulissat Ice fjord – a Unesco world heritage site." Photograph: Global Warming Images/WWF-Canon.


Wind, Solar Generation Capacity Catching Up With Nuclear Power. Here's an excerpt of an interesting (and encouraging) article at Vital Signs Online, courtesy of The Worldwatch Institute: "Nuclear’s share of global power production has declined steadily from a peak of 17.6 percent in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 2013. Renewables increased their share from 18.7 percent in 2000 to 22.7 percent in 2012.  Hydropower was the leading source of renewable electricity (16.5 percent of global power in 2012), while wind contributed 3.4 percent and solar, 0.6 percent.  But wind and solar energy are the fastest growing electricity technologies worldwide. Between 2000 and 2012, wind power grew nearly 16-fold and solar jumped 49-fold..."


FCC Considering Move To Ban Washington Redskins Name. Interesting times for the NFL and many team owners. I vote for Washington Lobbyists. Has a nice ring. Here's an excerpt from Reuters and Huffington Post: "The Federal Communications Commission is considering whether to punish broadcasters for using the moniker of the Washington NFL team, the Redskins, a word many consider a slur to Native Americans, the agency's chairman indicated on Tuesday. The FCC, which enforces broadcast indecency violations, has received a petition from legal activist John Banzhaf III, asking that regulators strip local radio station WWXX-FM of its broadcasting license when it comes up for renewal for using the name "Redskins..."


Caffeine-Infused Underwear Probably Doesn't Help You Lose Weight. That may come as a shock to some of you, but this story excerpt from Reuters explains in more detail: "Bras, girdles and leggings infused with caffeine and sold as weight loss aids were more decaf than espresso, and the companies that sold them have agreed to refund money to customers and pull their ads, U.S. regulators said on Monday. The Federal Trade Commission said Wacoal America and Norm Thompson Outfitters, which owns Sahalie and others, were accused of deceptive advertising that claimed their caffeine-impregnated clothing would cause the wearer to lose weight and have less cellulite..."


57 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

65 F. average high on October 1.

77 F. high on October 1, 2013.

.69" rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.

October 1, 1953: A record high of 90 degrees Fahrenheit for the St. Cloud area was recorded in 1953 (and later tied in 1992). Minneapolis also set a record that same day in 1953 with a high of 89 degrees.

October 1, 1849: Persistent rain at Ft. Snelling leaves 4 inches in a day-and-a half.


TODAY: Clouds increase, more showers later in the day. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 61

THURSDAY NIGHT: A few showers. Low: 45

FRIDAY: Colder wind, passing PM showers. Heavy jackets/blankets for evening football games. Wet snow may mix in up north. High: 50

SATURDAY: Fine November day. Mostly cloudy and brisk. Wake-up: 38. High: 49

SUNDAY: Metro frost possible. Dry, chilly Twin Cities Marathon with intervals of sun. Wake-up: 34. High: 50

MONDAY: Mostly gray, still raw for early October. Wake-up: 37. High: 48

TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, a bit better. Wake-up: 36. High: 54

WEDNESDAY: Milder, few PM showers up north. Wake-up: 45. High: 64


Climate Stories...

How Will Climate Change Affect Fall Foliage? Modern Farmer takes a look at how shifting seasons are impacting the timing and intensity of peak fall color; here's the introduction: "Researchers at Princeton University recently took a deep dive into the lovely autumnal colors of the Northeast and Midwest with an eye on climate change. They found that as the planet heats up, fall foliage will respond in messy, unpredictable ways — and that as a whole, leaves will begin changing color later and the period in which bright orange, red and yellow leaves stay on trees will last longer. But even though tourists in Vermont may celebrate, it’s important to note that the researchers’ findings indicate changes that could extend beyond fall photo ops. Trees, as it turns out, are the canary in the coal mine..."


Antarctica Has Lost Enough Ice To Cause A Measurable Shift in Gravity. Here's a clip from a story at Slate and WIRED: "...The biggest implication is the new measurements confirm global warming is changing the Antarctic in fundamental ways. Earlier this year, a separate team of scientists announced that major West Antarctic glaciers have begun an “unstoppable” “collapse,” committing global sea levels to a rise of several meters over the next few hundred years. Though we all learned in high-school physics that gravity is a constant, it actually varies slightly depending on where you are on the Earth’s surface and the density of the rock (or, in this case, ice) beneath your feet..."


This One Photo Perfectly Sums Up Why Climate Change is Real. Buzzfeed has the story and explanation; here's an excerpt: "...It's another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss," said World Wildlife Fund Arctic program director Margaret Williams. “The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of climate change...”

Image credit above: AP Photo/NOAA, Corey Accardo.


Japanese Scientists Think Climate Change Could Alter Human Male-to-Female Birth Ratio. How on Earth could there be a link with extreme weather events? Here's an excerpt from The Mary Sue: "...After lining up monthly temperature data from the Japan Meteorological agency and fetal death data from the Vital Statistics of Japan database, Fukuda and a team of researchers believe that there is an association (though not causation that they can successfully pin down, of course) between extreme weather fluctuations and a decrease in male babies. They note in their findings, which were published this month in Fertility and Sterility journal, that two very intense seasonal shifts caught their attention in particular; a very hot summer in 2010 and a very cold winter in 2011, both of which correlate to an increase in fetal deaths and an eventual decrease in male babies being born..."


Thinner Too, Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Sixth Lowest on Record. Science 2.0 has an update on what's happening at the top of the world; here's a clip: "Arctic sea ice coverage declined to its annual minimum on September 17th and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder find that this year's minimum extent is similar to last year's and below the 1981-2010 average of 2.40 million square miles. Over the 2014 summer, Arctic sea ice melted back from its maximum extent reached in March to a coverage area of 1.94 million square miles, according to analysis from NASA and NSIDC scientists..."

Image credit above: "Arctic sea ice hit its annual minimum on Sept. 17, 2014. The red line in this image shows the 1981-2010 average minimum extent. Data provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency GCOM-W1 satellite." Image: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.


How Global Warming Affected Extreme Weather Events in 2013 - Interactive. Following up on yesterday's posts here's an effective interactive infographic from The Guardian: "From Australia’s off-the-charts heat wave to Colorado’s biblical deluge, Europe’s scorching summer, and Britain’s miserable spring, nine events were caused at least in part by climate change, scientists conclude in a report in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society on Monday. Overseen by the US Noaa and the UK Met Office, 92 scientists from 14 countries looked at how climate change affected 16 of the biggest weather events of 2013."


Growing, And Growing Vulnerable. Barrier islands are at special risk from warming/rising seas. Here's a clip from a story at The New York Times: "...But the barrier islands that line the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, from Cape Cod to the Mexican border, are a special case. A new report from the National Research Council finds that the effect of climate change is especially harsh on these islands. Population growth in much of this long coast “is nearly twice the national average,” the report said. Meanwhile, “these same coasts are subject to impact by some of the most powerful storms on earth and the destruction potential of these events is increasing due to climate change and relative sea-level rise...”

Photo credit above: "An aerial view of a breach in the Fire Island National Seashore caused by Hurricane Sandy." Credit National Park Service.