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 Lions

Smoked Sunshine Served Hot - July About To Stage a Comeback

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 17, 2014 - 10:43 PM

As you slather on your SPF 50 sunscreen and stare up at a hazy-milky blue sky, realize that smoke from Canadian wildfires is drifting over Minnesota - swept along by jet stream winds aloft. Extreme heat is baking much of western Canada and the USA, sparking a rash of wildfires 1,500 miles upwind. The smoke plume is too high to smell anything unusual, but a few cherry-red sunsets are possible in the days ahead.

What was probably the most comfortable week of summer gives way to a warming trend in the coming days; highs top 90F by early next week. Weather models hint at a few spotty T-showers Saturday & Sunday - maybe a severe weather outbreak next Tuesday as superheated, tropical air sparks an MCS system; a statewide swarm of strong to severe storms.

That's pure speculation, but there's little doubt drippy dew points will top 70F by Monday and Tuesday. Men will sweat, women will glow, pets will pant. July the way we always knew it could be.

Note to self: the ability to tan or burn has nothing to do with temperature, and everything to do with sun angle; how high the sun is in the southern sky. You can get thoroughly fried in July, even when temperatures are in the 60s and 70s.

Tracking The Smoke. NOAA has a suite of online tools that display the latest position of significant smoke plumes from western fires.

Oregon, Washington Declare States of Emergency To Battle Wildfires. Here's the lead to a story at The Christian Science Monitor: "Worsening wildfire activity prompted the governor's offices in both Washington and Oregon to declare a state of emergency, a move that enables state officials to call up the National Guard. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has issued an emergency declaration in response to wildfires, Wednesday..."

Photo credit above: "Plumes of smoke from the Leavenworth wildfire arc in the sky as seen from Highway 2 at Highway 207, west of Leavenworth, Wash. on Thursday, July 17, 2014. Worsening wildfire activity has prompted the governor's offices in both Washington and Oregon to declare states of emergency." (AP Photo/The Seattle Times, Mike Siegel).

Building Heat. 100s over the Dakotas this weekend? It looks increasingly likely that the heat dome gripping the east will migrate into the Plains and Upper Midwest; highs brushing or topping 90F in Minnesota and much of the Midwest again by early next week. Meanwhile New England enjoys fresh, clean Canadian air. 2-meter NAM Future Temperatures: NOAA and HAMweather.

Rough T-storms Southern USA to Carolinas. NOAA's Future Radar product (12 km NAM) shows strong storms from Oklahoma City and Little Rock to Nashville and Raleigh over the next 72 hours; a few T-storms popping over northern and central Minnesota by the weekend as steamy air returns. Loop: HAMweather.

California Farms Are Sucking Up Enough Groundwater To Put Rhode Island 17 Feet Under. Here's an excerpt of a story at Mother Jones that shows the severity of the rolling drought in California: "...In a normal year, about one-third of California's irrigation water is drawn from wells that tap into the groundwater supply. The rest is "surface water" from streams, rivers, and reservoirs. This year, the state is losing about one-third of its surface water supply. The hardest hit area is the Central Valley, a normally fertile inland region. Because groundwater isn't as easily pumped in the Valley as it is on the coasts, and the Colorado River supplies aren't as accessible as they are in the south, the Valley has lost 410,000 acres to fallowing, an area about 10 times the size of Washington D.C...."


Risk of Earthquake Increased For About Half of USA. Say what you will about our increasingly erratic, jaw-dropping weather, but at least Minnesota is earthquake-free! We have that going for us. Here's an excerpt from The Kansas City Star: "This undated handout image provided by the US Geological Survey (USGS) shows an updated federal earthquake risk map. A new map dials up the shaking hazard just a bit for about half of the US and lowers it for nearly a quarter of the nation. The U.S. Geologic Survey updated Thursday its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008, taking into account research from the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami off the Japanese coast and the surprise 2011 Virginia temblor."

Image credit: USGS/AP Photo.

Read more here:

45 Years Ago We Landed Men on the Moon. How is that even possible, especially considering the onboard computers during the Apollo missions had a fraction of the computing power your smartphone has today? The Atlantic has a terrific pictorial walk down memory lane, focused on the awe-inspiring journey of Apollo 11; here's a clip: "...Years of effort, dangerous experiments, and bold missions led up to the Moon landing, an event watched on live television by millions around the world. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" E. Aldrin left the Earth on a Wednesday, landed on the Moon on that Sunday, spent a bit more than two hours walking on its surface, deploying experiments and collecting samples, then splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean the following Thursday, after 8 days off-planet. Collected here are 45 images of that historic mission, a "giant leap for mankind," 45 years ago..." (Image: NASA).

NASA Air Traffic Control Software To Improve Spacing Between Planes. Gizmag has an interesting story - here's an excerpt: "As with all technology, the tools used for air traffic control are always improving. Recently, for example, it was announced that the first remote air traffic control tower would open in Sweden. In a smaller evolution, NASA has provided the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with software to better manage the spacing between planes..."

Your Sunscreen Is Really Out of Date. Here's What Congress Is Doing About It. Another reason to take the sun, like everything else, in moderation. NationalJournal has an article that made me do a double-take; here's a clip: "The U.S. may finally catch up to other countries in sunscreen technology. The ingredients that make their sunscreen superior have been awaiting approval—or any sort of decision—from the Food and Drug Administration for at least 12 years, with the last over-the-counter sunscreen ingredient approved by the agency in the 1990s. There are currently eight such ingredients stuck in the system. Meanwhile, these technologies have been available in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, sometimes for more than 15 years. As a result of the backlog, American consumers have been unable to buy the sunscreens that provide the most effective protections against harmful rays..."

A Fish Oil - Alzheimer's Connection? Yahoo News has a story about new research showing a possible connection between fish oil and a lowered risk of Alzheimer's. Here's a clip: "Fish oil is touted as a magical potion that boosts fertility, heart health, and weight loss and promotes a clear complexion, while lessening the effects of depression, ulcers, diabetes and many more conditions. But there’s another benefit to these glossy little capsules: They may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. .."

Our Bees, Ourselves. All around the world colonies of honey bees are dying and the causes may be manifold. We should be paying close attention, according to a story at The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "...But in the midst of crisis can come learning. Honeybee collapse has much to teach us about how humans can avoid a similar fate, brought on by the increasingly severe environmental perturbations that challenge modern society. Honeybee collapse has been particularly vexing because there is no one cause, but rather a thousand little cuts..." (File photo: Wikipedia).

79 F. high in the Twin Cities Thursday.

84 F. average high on July 17.

94 F. high on July 17, 2013.

July 17 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities NWS:

2000: Fall apparel made an early debut on this cold day with a 60 degree high temperature at the Twin Cities, 54 at Brainerd and 52 at Cambridge.

1986: A KARE TV news helicopter captured live footage of a tornado as it hit the northern suburbs of Minneapolis. It touched down in Brooklyn Park and continued to Fridley. The tornado, an F-2 in magnitude, caused $650,000 in damages

1970: Tornado slices right through the center of Miltona.

1867: Possibly the greatest "unofficial" rainstorm in Minnesota history. 36 inches was recorded in 36 hours near Sauk Center. Disasterous flooding in central Minnesota. The Pomme De Terre river was impassible. A courier attempted to cross on horseback and drowned. Flooding was also on the Mississippi with millions of logs lost on the river.

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, warm breeze. Dew point: 57. Winds: S 15. High: 81

FRIDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 65

SATURDAY: Warm sun, isolated T-shower late? High: 82

SUNDAY: Sticky sun, stray PM storm. Dew point: 67. Wake-up: 67. High: 87

MONDAY: Sunny and stinking hot. Dew point: 72. Feels like 98. Wake-up: 72. High: 91

TUESDAY: Steamy, T-storms - some severe? Wake-up: 75. High: 83

WEDNESDAY: Clearing, less humid. Dew point: 63. Wake-up: 69. High: 85

THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, still feels like July. Wake-up: 70. High: 87

Climate Stories...

NOAA: Climate Change Is Getting Worse. No warming in 15 years? Think again - much of the additional warming is going into the world's oceans (and cryosphere - melting Arctic and Greenland ice faster than computer models predicted). Here's the introduction to a story at The Hill: "Changes in the earth's climate are increasing at a steady rate, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned Thursday in a new report. Greenhouse gas emissions, sea levels, global temperatures and super storms are all trending upward, NOAA said. "These findings reinforce what scientists for decades have observed: that our planet is becoming a warmer place." NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said in a statement Thursday..."

Is Global Warming Causing Extreme Weather Via Jet Stream Waves? The Guardian has the story; focusing on trends I've seen with the jet stream, especially since 2010 or so - more high-amplitude waves capable of accelerating heat/drought and flooding, since these long, looping kinks in the upper level wind flow tend to move slower. Here's a clip: "...People who follow this site and the climate literature no doubt are aware that a hotly debated topic has arisen in recent years. I have written about studies that have linked loss of Arctic ice and warming of the Arctic region to more severe undulations in the jet stream. That research is still in its infancy and consequently, very exciting. While the idea that global warming increases jet stream undulations have been challenged by others, it is clear that some recent observations support the hypothesis..."

Image credit: Climate Reanalyzer (, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, USA.

Global Warming Threatens Chicago Tourism. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Chicago Sun Times: "...Severe rainstorms also have the power to frustrate business. As the river rises because of rainfall, it becomes challenging for tour boats to fit underneath Chicago’s many bridges. This in turn means the Chicago Harbor Lock may have to open the gates that separate the Chicago River from Lake Michigan to restore the river to safe levels and protect residents from basement flooding. In the past 25 years all Chicago River lock gates were opened six times for flood control purposes. The worrisome part of that statistic is that four of these six times have occurred since 2008 with the latest just occurring on July 1..."

Top 10 Warmest January – July Periods. Global temperature anomalies courtesy of NASA GISS:

2010       .73C

2007       .69C

1998       .69C

2002       .68C

2014       .65C

2005       .64C

2004       .57C

2013       .56C

2009       .55C

2004       .54C

White House Unveils Climate Change Initiatives. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...One of the projects involves shoring up the power supply during climate catastrophes, and the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday will award $236.3 million to improve electricity infrastructure in the rural areas of eight states. A government study released in May concluded that climate change will strain utility companies’ ability to deliver power as extreme weather damages power lines and hotter temperatures drive surges in demand..."

Global Warming Reaches New Records. Voice of America reports; here's an excerpt: "Scientific evidence about the rising of average global temperatures seems to be piling up. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, average global temperatures in April, May and June this year were the highest since the beginning of official records, in 1891..." (Image: NASA).

Atmospheric Perfection - Shot at 90 Early Next Week

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 16, 2014 - 10:28 PM

Tell Me a Story

That newfangled gadget (productivity tool) you just bought is obsolete by the time you unwrap it. Technology evolves, but one thing stays fairly consistent: people still respond to a good story.

Maybe it's in our caveman DNA, but we still love to gather around the fire, TV or nearest smartphone and tell each other stories.

Will computers ever remove the need for meteorologists to be involved in the weather story? Will Apple's Siri (version 6.3 in 2021) tell you what's happening outside and why? Maybe.

In 1976 there was 1 weather model (LFM). Today we have a firehose of data; hundreds of models to choose from. We are drowning in data and simulations of what (should) happen.

Studies suggest the best weather forecasts use computers and meteorologists, who rely on historical performance, intuition and gut feel. Stuff you can't program into a computer, at least not yet.

Some of the nicest weather of summer lingers into the weekend as cool exhaust from Monday's "vortex" lingers. Dew points rise into the steamy 70s next week as a hot front approaches.

The next chance of widespread T-storms comes Tuesday, so take full advantage of this extended dry spell.

And for the record: there's plenty of warm, summer weather left to enjoy.

Trust me, I'm a weatherman.

Warming Trend. Enjoy comfortable dew points in the low 50s today and early Friday, because long-range models show dew points topping 70F early next week. The good news: dry weather spills over into the weekend as temperatures rise into the 80s; a shot at 90F in the metro area early next week before cooling off a bit by midweek. Meteogram: Weatherspark.

Sweatshirt Nights for New England While Western USA Broils. NAM 2-meter temperatures show a cooling trend for much of the Northeast, while the Midwest and Plains heat up into the weekend, and temperatures continue to top 100F over much of Texas and the Southwest. 84-hour forecast: NOAA and HAMweather.

Top 10 Warmest January – July Periods. Global temperature anomalies courtesy of NASA GISS:

2010       .73C

2007       .69C

1998       .69C

2002       .68C

2014       .65C

2005       .64C

2004       .57C

2013       .56C

2009       .55C

2004       .54C

Top 10 Cities At Risk For Hurricane Damage. Insurance Business America has the article; here's a clip: "...Unsurprisingly, Florida leads the way for the highest number of homes at risk (2.5 million), containing the second- and third-ranked metro areas of Miami and Tampa. New York City represents the highest number of homes at risk (687,412) as well as the highest total value of homes exposed ($251 billion). With that level of risk, producers in the following 10 metro areas have a powerful case to present to home and business owners who have not yet purchased the proper coverage..." (Image above: NASA).

A Tornado "Lifejacket"? Keep in mind most serious, life-threatening tornado-related injuries are the result of blunt head trauma from flying debris. Could the right (reinforced) blanket really provide adequate protection during a tornado? Here's an excerpt of a story at "...Made from heavy-duty nylon, an impact gel product and Dyneema®, a high-tech body armor material, and modeled after the old Roman phalanx shields, the duo created a product dubbed BODYGUARD™. The product is a blanketlike, protective shield designed to "provide superior protection for children and teachers while at school..."

Image above courtesy of StormGuard and Protecht.

45 Years Ago We Landed Men on the Moon. How is that even possible, especially considering the onboard computers during the Apollo missions had a fraction of the computing power your smartphone has today? The Atlantic has a terrific pictorial walk down memory lane, focused on the awe-inspiring journey of Apollo 11; here's a clip: "...Years of effort, dangerous experiments, and bold missions led up to the Moon landing, an event watched on live television by millions around the world. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" E. Aldrin left the Earth on a Wednesday, landed on the Moon on that Sunday, spent a bit more than two hours walking on its surface, deploying experiments and collecting samples, then splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean the following Thursday, after 8 days off-planet. Collected here are 45 images of that historic mission, a "giant leap for mankind," 45 years ago..." (Image: NASA).

A Huge New Craters is Found in Siberia, And The Theories Fly. NPR has the story and video; here's an excerpt: "The area of Russia is said to be called, ominously enough, the end of the world. And that's where researchers are headed this week, to investigate a large crater whose appearance reportedly caught scientists by surprise. The crater is estimated at 262 feet wide and is in the northern Siberian area of Yamal. The crater has been a magnet for attention and speculation since aerial footage of it was posted online last week, showing a gaping hole and what looks to be rocks and earth that exploded from within it..."

Your Sunscreen Is Really Out of Date. Here's What Congress Is Doing About It. Another reason to take the sun, like everything else, in moderation. NationalJournal has an article that made me do a double-take; here's a clip: "The U.S. may finally catch up to other countries in sunscreen technology. The ingredients that make their sunscreen superior have been awaiting approval—or any sort of decision—from the Food and Drug Administration for at least 12 years, with the last over-the-counter sunscreen ingredient approved by the agency in the 1990s. There are currently eight such ingredients stuck in the system. Meanwhile, these technologies have been available in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, sometimes for more than 15 years. As a result of the backlog, American consumers have been unable to buy the sunscreens that provide the most effective protections against harmful rays..."

Our Bees, Ourselves. All around the world colonies of honey bees are dying and the causes may be manifold. We should be paying close attention, according to a story at The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "...But in the midst of crisis can come learning. Honeybee collapse has much to teach us about how humans can avoid a similar fate, brought on by the increasingly severe environmental perturbations that challenge modern society. Honeybee collapse has been particularly vexing because there is no one cause, but rather a thousand little cuts..." (File photo: Wikipedia).

Getting Rid of Cable TV: The Smartest Ways to Cut The Cord. Yes, the old-fashioned TV antenna is staging a comeback. In fact broadcast signals in HD are often sharper over the air than via cable. If you're sick of paying hundreds of dollars for channels you never watch, check out this article at The Wall Street Journal; here's an excerpt: "...I hadn't thought about a TV antenna since 1985, but it may be time to go back to the future. Today, the network channels  you can get free over the air can be crisp. And unlike that giant antenna that used to dominate Uncle Louie's roof, today's antennas, like the $70 Mohu Leaf 50 and the $90 Winegard FlatWave Amped, are slim enough to fit on a bookshelf..."

Free Broadcast TV Signals At Your Address. Check out this terrific on-line tool at, plug in your address and height of the (prospective) antenna above the ground and you get an instant (confidential) report on what (free) TV signals are available at your home. Pretty slick.

The Myth of Wealthy Men and Beautiful Women. The Atlantic has an interesting article that may challenge how you think about couples pairing up; here's an excerpt: "...The study concludes that women aren’t really out for men with more wealth than themselves, nor are men looking for women who outshine them in beauty. Rather, hearteningly, people really are looking for ... compatibility and companionship. Finding those things is driven by matching one's strengths with a partner who’s similarly endowed, rather than trying to barter kindness for hotness, humor for conscientiousness, cultural savvy for handyman-ship, or graduate degrees for marketable skills...."

Tesla Reveals Its Next Electric Car Will Be Called Model 3, Which Should Retail For Under $35,000 in 2017. The prices are coming down - I have a hunch many of our kids and grandkids won't think twice about driving EV's, especially if they can save money (and clean up the air) in the process. Here's a clip from The Next Web: "...Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk told Auto Express in an interview that the new vehicle will rival the BMW 3 Series. Though Musk wanted to name the car ‘Model E’ at first, his plans were derailed when Ford threatened to sue it, saying it wanted to use the name — so Model 3 it eventually became. The Model 3 will be smaller than the Model S, with Musk saying it should retail for around $35,000 (or around £30,000 in the UK) due to the use of cheaper batteries that Tesla will likely build in its upcoming Gigafactory..."

77 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

84 F. average high on July 17.

92 F. high on July 17, 2013.

July 17 in Minnesota Weather History:

2001: Lightning struck a Minnesota National Guard field training site located in Camp Ripley. Nearly two dozen Marine Corps reservists were sent to hospitals. Most were released after treatment

1952: 5.20 inches of rain fell in 3 1/2 hours at Moose Lake. Numerous basements were flooded and Highway 61 was impassable at Willow River.

1934: Frost damages crops across the north with 34 in Baudette and Roseau.

TODAY: A perfect day. Sunny. Dew point: 51. Winds: SW 8. High: 78

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear and comfortable. Low: 59

FRIDAY: Sunny, breezy & warmer. Dew point: 56. High: 81

SATURDAY: Warm sunshine. Dew point: 60. Winds: S 15+ Wake-up: 61. High: 83

SUNDAY: Sticky sun, lake-worthy. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 63. High: 85

MONDAY: Mexican Vortex. Hot sun. Dew point: 68. Wake-up: 67. High: near 90

TUESDAY: Slight relief, few T-storms likely. Wake-up: 68. High: 86

WEDNESDAY: More sun, a bit less humid. DP: 60. Wake-up: 64. High: 84

Climate Stories...

White House Unveils Climate Change Initiatives. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...One of the projects involves shoring up the power supply during climate catastrophes, and the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday will award $236.3 million to improve electricity infrastructure in the rural areas of eight states. A government study released in May concluded that climate change will strain utility companies’ ability to deliver power as extreme weather damages power lines and hotter temperatures drive surges in demand..."

Global Warming Reaches New Records. Voice of America reports; here's an excerpt: "Scientific evidence about the rising of average global temperatures seems to be piling up. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, average global temperatures in April, May and June this year were the highest since the beginning of official records, in 1891..." (Image: NASA).

No Sweat. Coolest MLB All-Star Game on Record? Frost Potential North early Wednesday - 90s Next Week

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 14, 2014 - 10:49 PM

In town for the All-Star game? I predict you'll enjoy your stay in Minneapolis and enjoy a healthy serving of "Minnesota Nice" while you're here. What? It's "too cool for baseball?"

Well, unlike some stuffy American cities, where July heat can bake the paint off cars and make you want to live in your swimming pool, we prefer our summers fresh and comfortable, with a faint Canadian accent. In fact today is a little on the warm side for many of us! That's why you'll see throngs of smiling locals in shorts and sweatshirts.

Sort of a passive-aggressive thing we have going here. We ignore the weather we don't like. And we never, ever complain.

It may, in fact, be the coolest MLB All-Star Game since 1980 (if the first-pitch temperature is cooler than 68F). No haze, no smog. No raging storms - just popcorn cumulus clouds and a sprinkling of stars by 10 PM. Baseball the way it was meant to be.

A flawless Wednesday gives way to a warming trend later this week; the next chance of T-storms late Saturday.

Oh, if anyone asks (doubtful) Fairbanks, Alaska was warmer than the Twin Cities yesterday. And a light frost is possible over the Minnesota Arrowhead late tonight.


An All-Star Weather Report: Fresh Air; Frost Risk Northern Minnesota Wednesday Morning? In today's first Climate Matters segment I take a look at the crazy temperatures extremes across North America; wind chill over the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, while the western USA and Canada fries under 90 and 100-degree heat. Blame (or thank) strange loops and permutations in the jet stream: "It's been all or nothing in the moisture department, why not temperature too? WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas goes over the chilly temperatures over the Eastern half of the United States and the baking heat across the West. What is to blame?"

A July Vortex from Space. The gyre of unusually chilly air pinwheeling out of Canada showed up in yesterday's visible satellite image, a counterclockwise swirl centered over Duluth. As cool as it was at the surface, temperatures aloft were much colder, resulting in numerous instability showers, some heavy.

Whiff of Wind Chill. At 10 AM Monday the wind chill in Hibbing was a crisp 46 F. Not too bad considering the air temperature was a chilling 52 F. with a windblown rain falling. What month is this again?

A Crazed Jet Stream. Yes, winds aloft are redefining the meaning of "high amplitude flow", record heat surging across western Canada with 80s reported as far north as the Arctic Circle, while a gyre of October-like air swirls across the Upper Midwest into the Great Lakes, where temperatures are running 20-30 F. cooler than average. When, precisely, was the last time our weather was average?

A Mid-Summer Correction. NAM 2-meter temperature guidance shows free A/C pushing into the Ohio Valley and New England by midweek; sizzling 90s and 100-degree highs still commonplace from Texas into much of the western USA. There is a 1 in 3 chance of isolated frost by Wednesday morning over far northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan. Remarkable. Animation: NOAA and HAMweather.

Mother of All July Cool Fronts - 90F Next Week? Brisk weather continues today; in all probability tonight's MLB All-Star game will be the coolest ever played. We slowly warm in the coming days; a few T-storms popping up again late Saturday into early next week. All guidance shows a surge of heat next week, maybe a few days at or above 90F. Talk about a temperature turnaround. Meteogram: Weatherspark.

Lake Mead Levels to Drop to Historic Lows. More symptoms of a lingering, multi-year drought; here's an excerpt from PRWeb: "Lake Mead, the reservoir created by Hoover Dam, is anticipated this week to reach its lowest water level since the lake’s initial filling in the 1930s. The Bureau of Reclamation’s Boulder Canyon Operations Office is projecting the elevation to drop to 1,081.75 feet above sea level during the week of July 7, and to continue to drop, reaching approximately 1,080 feet in November of this year..."

Lake Mead Water Levels Since 1935. has more fascinating details, graphs and photos focused on the gradual decline of Lake Mead.

Driest Year Across California Since 1923-24. Lake Mead water levels are the lowest recorded since it started to fill up in the mid-30s. Looking at statewide data ithe period from June 30, 2013 to July 1, 2014 was the second driest in California history. That, and smoke plumes from western fires, is the subject of today's second Climate Matters segment: "Wildfires, extreme heat, and drought are all characteristics of the Western United States right now. What has one of the worst droughts in 500 hundred years brought with it? Shrinking reservoirs, including Lake Mead, can be seen all over the West. When will it end?"

6.5 Million American Homes Face Hurricane Risk. Realty Biz News has the story and highlights of a recent comprehensive study; here's the introduction: "More than 6.5 million homes along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts could be at risk of a storm surge from a hurricane, which could amount to nearly $1.5 trillion in potential reconstruction costs, according to the 2014 storm surge analysis conducted by CoreLogic..."

Image credit above: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center via photopin cc.

Surge Could Do Serious Damage Here. The Herald-Tribune looks at the implications of a hurricane storm surge for southwestern Florida, from Sarasota to Naples and Fort Myers; here's an excerpt: "Southwest Florida has more residential real estate at risk from storm surge damage than almost any other metropolitan area in the country, a new report shows. If a major hurricane were to strike here, it would cost nearly $43 billion to rebuild the homes destroyed by the storm and subsequent surge in the region, according to data from housing researcher CoreLogic. Statewide, more than two million homes could be impacted and cost nearly $500 billion to replace..."

Photo credit above: "Storm surge swallows up the public beach near the city pier in Naples in 2005, after Hurricane Wilma powered through the city. A new report indicates storm surge could damage thousands of homes in this region." H-T ARCHIVE / 2005.

Swimsuits for Snow Boots. Freak Summer Snow and Hail Hit Siberia, Urals. RT News has the photos and article; here's an excerpt: "Snowdrifts piled up on the roads of Russia's Ural region on Saturday as an abnormal summer snowstorm hit the region, bringing the area into the spotlight once again after last year's meteorite fall. Siberia also witnessed a downpour of giant hailstones. Residents of the cities of Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk, located in Russia's eastern Ural region, were taken aback when it suddenly started snowing in the middle of summer on Saturday..."

Vietnam's Overdue Alliance with America. I didn't think I'd live long enough to see this headline, but after touring Vietnam earlier this year, seeing their market-based economy and remarkable work ethic, and sensing a growing concern and unease about China's aspirations, some sort of alliance may be all but inevitable. Here's a clip from The New York Times: "...Because of China’s recent territorial grabs at sea and its complete disregard for international law, we are now back to square one. Without a major strategic realignment, Vietnam’s island territories will simply be gobbled up by China. Our country must dispose of the myth of friendship with China and return to what Ho Chi Minh passionately advocated after World War II: an American-Vietnamese alliance in Asia. Ho’s sympathies with the United States and its platform of self-determination for all peoples went as far back as the Paris Peace Conference after World War I..."

Tree Houses: High-End Style Goes Out on a Limb. Put up a flat-screen TV, WIFI and a flush toilet and I'm there. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Boston Globe: "...Regardless of where the house is built, however, clients look at it as an escape. And that’s exactly the way B’fer Roth likes it. He can install electricity and plumbing and all that if customers insist, but that’s not his preference, truth be told. “The whole point of a treehouse is getting away from all the stuff we’re inundated with in the luxuries of our homes,” he said. “My ideal treehouse doesn’t have all the trappings of the modern urban house...”

Photo credit above: Nelson Treehouse and Supply. "Nelson Treehouse and Supply of Fall City, Wash., built this treehouse with the varied rooflines and the Arts-and-Crafts-style elements on the Cape."

How Coffee Protects Against Parkinson's. Good thing I had my triple-shot latte this morning - it's now possible to rationalize away almost anything. Here's a clip of an interesting article at "...An epidemiological study of Parkinson's patients from two counties in south east Sweden examined a combination of a previously known protective factor – caffeine – and the genetic variant in GRIN2A. The findings show that individuals with this combination run a significantly lower risk of developing the disease..."

Stress-Busting Diet: Eight Foods That May Boost Resilience. I put down my donut just long enough to read an interesting article at NPR; here's a clip: "...There can be a bit of a vicious cycle," says , a professor of pediatrics and nutrition at Harvard University and a researcher at Boston Children's Hospital. "When we feel stressed we seek foods that are going to comfort us immediately, but often times those foods lead to surges and crashes in hormones and blood sugar that increase our susceptibility to new stresses..."

Photo credit above: "A nutrient-dense diet may help tamp down stress. And these foods may help boost our moods (clockwise from left): pumpkin seeds, sardines, eggs, salmon, flax seeds, Swiss chard and dark chocolate." Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Utilities to Battery-Powered Solar: Get Off Our Lawn. Grist has an interesting article for anyone considering trying to sell excess (free) solar energy back to the grid; here's an excerpt: "In Wisconsin, utilities are jacking up the price to connect to their electrical grid. In Oklahoma, utilities pushed through a law this spring that allows them to charge the people who own solar panels and wind turbines more to connect to their electrical grid. In Arizona, the state has decided to charge extra property taxes to households that are leasing solar panels. Welcome to the solar backlash..."

Apple Patent Hints the iPhone 6 Will Be Made of Indestructible Glass. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post: "A new Apple patent gives more weight to rumors that the next iPhone will be made of a nearly indestructible type of glass. Apple won a patent this week for “fused glass device housings," a new method of fusing together pieces of glass, which could be used to make casings for devices like the iPhone and iPad, Apple Insider reports..."

People Who Complain About Tornado Coverage Deserve To Miss Their Show. I understand the angst and frustration when the meteorologist interrupts your favorite show for a tornado warning. But here's the thing: TV stations are licensed by the FCC to serve the public interest. That very much includes passing on warnings for imminent, life-threatening weather from their local NWS offices. There are other (better) ways to get these warnings, including smartphone apps, but cut the poor TV meteorologist some slack. He's just doing his job. And you may think different (sorry Steve Jobs) when it's your neighborhood in the path of an EF-4. Here's a clip from The Vane at Gawker: "...Most television stations in the United States have policies in place that require their weather personnel to break into programming when a tornado warning is issued in their viewing area. As tornado warnings are only issued during imminent life-threatening severe weather situations, meteorologists need to get the word out as fast as they can so people in the way of the storms can take cover just in case the worst happens...

Runner Struck in the Head by Lightning, Finishes Third. And the gold medal winner for dumb-tenacity has to go to this guy - as reported by Fitish: "Over the weekend the Hardrock 100 ultramarathon wound its way through the mountains around Silverton, Colo. The men's winner set a course record. But more impressive or stupid or mind-boggling was that the third-place finisher, Adam Campbell of Canada, was struck by lightning. In the head. And then he kept running..."

65 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday, the coolest July 14 on record. Old record: 68 in 1884.

84 F. average high on July 14.

86 F. high on July 14, 2013.

.06" rain fell yesterday at KMSP.

July 14, 1980: Straight-line winds of nearly 100 mph causes enormous damage, mainly in Dakota County. 43 million dollars in damage was reported and 100 thousand people were without power.

TODAY: Fresh air. More clouds than sun. Winds: NW 15. Dew point: 46. High: 68

TUESDAY NIGHT: Great baseball weather (bring a sweatshirt). Slow clearing. Low: 52

WEDNESDAY: Bright sun, less wind. Perfect. High: 72

THURSDAY: Sunny, a bit milder. Dew point: 48. Wake-up: 58. High: 74

FRIDAY: Warm sunshine, more July-like. Wake-up: 60. High: near 80

SATURDAY: Sticky sun, T-storms late. Dew point: 65. Wake-up: 64. High: 82

SUNDAY: Patchy clouds, stray T-shower. Dry most of the day. Wake-up: 65. High: 81

MONDAY: Shocker: more T-storms, downpours. Wake-up: 64. High: 83

Climate Stories....

"Tornadoes of Fire" in N.W.T. Linked to Climate Change. Record heat (and sudden drought) has ignited a rash of wildfires across Canada's Northwest Territories, and the trends suggest warming since the 1970s is at least partly to blame for an increase in frequency, size and duration of wildfires. But is there a link to climate volatility? Here's an excerpt from Canada's CBC: "Climate change is responsible for more frequent and larger forest fires, such as the ones now plaguing the Northwest Territories, says an Edmonton professor. “What we are seeing in the Northwest Territories this year is an indicator of what to expect with climate change,” says Mike Flannigan, a professor of Wildland Fire in the University of Alberta’s renewable resources department. “Expect more fires, larger fires, more intense fires...”

Photo credit above: "A boy points to a fire on the other side of a lake near Gameti, N.W.T. Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta, says climate change is responsible for the hot, dry conditions that are causing fires to burn out of control." (Jenn Wetrade)

How A Flood-Prone Village In The U.S. Moved To Higher, Drier Ground. Expect to see more of this in the years ahead. Here's an excerpt from Thomson Reuters Foundation: "...So Valmeyer (Illinois) did what many vulnerable, disaster-prone communities around the world have considered: It moved to safer ground. Climate change, coupled with deforestation to make way for cities and farms and population growth that results in people living in increasingly vulnerable places, is leading to more severe and frequent natural disasters, scientists say. Those disasters are forcing millions to relocate temporarily or even permanently to safer areas. An estimated 31.7 million people were displaced by weather-related disasters in 2012 alone, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre..."

Photo credit above: "A 1993 map of plans for a new Valmeyer, Illinois, located on a bluff above the old flood-hit town." Photo courtesy of Dennis Knobloch.

8 Charts That Show How Climate Change is Making The World More Dangerous. The Guardian has the story - here's a clip: "...Flooding and mega-storms were by far the leading cause of disaster from 2000-2010. About 80% of the 3,496 disasters of the last decade were due to flooding and storms. Seas are rising because of climate change. So are extreme rain storms. There is growing evidence that warming temperatures are increasing the destructive force of hurricanes..."

Dr. Jason Box Interviewed by Bill Maher. Jason Box is Chief Scientist for the Dark Snow project. His recent award-winning documentary "Chasing Ice" showed, in stark details, the rate of ice loss taking place at northern latitudes, worldwide. This interview took place on July 12, 2014; here's the clip on YouTube.

Climate Change: Birds Most Influenced by Precipitation, Not Warming Temperatures. Nature World News has a story focused on new research; here's an excerpt: "...Although it would seem that warming temperatures associated with climate change would most greatly influence animal species like birds, a new study shows that precipitation is actually the key to bird adaptation. Past studies have shown that warming temperatures can push some animal species - including birds - into higher latitudes or higher elevations. However, few have explored the role that precipitation has on how they adapt to their environment..."

Photo credit above: "Although it would seem that warming temperatures associated with climate change would most greatly influence animal species like birds, a new study shows that precipitation is actually the key to bird adaptation." (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

America's Oil Consumption is Rising, Not Falling, Outpacing China's. InsideClimate News has the details; here's an excerpt: "U.S. oil demand reversed course in dramatic fashion in 2013, as the nation's growth in crude consumption outpaced perennial leader China for the first time since 1999, according to oil company BP's annual compendium of world energy statistics. The U.S. increase follows two years of declines, and dampens hopes that the world's largest oil guzzler was permanently reining in its appetite for crude..."

Rupert Murdoch Doesn't Understand Climate Change Basics And That's a Problem. And that fundamental scientific ignorance and misinformation trickles down to his global media empire. The Guardian has the article; here's an excerpt: "...Rupert Murdoch's media outlets frequently publish opinion articles from non-experts who similarly downplay the risks we face from climate change. It's not surprising that Murdoch is misinformed on the subject if those biased non-experts are his sources of information. However, it's not just Murdoch who's being misinformed by these inaccurate and biased opinions, it's also the vast audience that his media empire reaches. Murdoch's media outlets are of course free to publish whatever misinformation they like. However, given their immense size and reach, it's difficult to offset the damage this misinformation causes to the public understanding about climate change..."

Thundery into Saturday - Drier Sunday - Hints of October by Monday

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 11, 2014 - 12:52 AM

All-Star Cliche

How often have you heard the following: "Oh, you live in Minnesota - it's really cold there huh?" I usually nod in agreement, then show them my polar bear tattoo, which makes them want to change the subject.

I would bet a small, well-equipped Winnebago that FOX-TV announcers will chat about "Minnesota's ridiculously chilly weather" during Tuesday's MLB All-Star game, reinforcing the tired stereotypes we've all grown up with.

According to meteorologist D.J. Kayser if the first pitch temperature is colder than 68F at Target Field it'll be the chilliest All-Star game since 1980. It'll be very close.

If you're connecting the dots and tracking the trends early next week will be more evidence that the jet stream is seriously misbehaving; knocked out of alignment. Monday may be 20-25F cooler than average here, but 30-35F warmer than average over western Canada. More crazy extremes.

A few T-storms today give rise to 80s with some sun tomorrow (and a few more storms). Soak it any attempted warmth, because we start to cool off Sunday. Monday will feel like football weather: scrappy clouds and PM showers, 50s north and 60s south.

You may not believe me (I'm OK with that) but Monday morning there's a 60 percent chance you'll reach for a jacket.

MLB All-Star Weather Factoids. From Media Logic Group meteorologist D.J. Kayser:

Weather conditions for first pitch are available from official box scores on Baseball Reference. A good note, not every box score lists weather conditions. The vast majority have it, however, since the League Divisional Series started in the 90s. I went back to 1980, and the weather listed for the start of the game is included (if it wasn't "Unknown") in the attachment.

Since 1980, there have been 4 games with documented starting weather that had a gametime temp of 68°

  • 1990 - Wrigley Field (Chicago)
  • 1999 - Fenway Park (Boston)
  • 2002 - Miller Park (Milwaukee)
  • 2007 - AT&T Park (San Francisco)

Since 1980, there have been no documented games with a gametime temp of below 68°.

Weekend Meteogram. Expect more scattered showers and T-storms today and Saturday as dew point rise thru the 60s. Winds swing around to the northwest Sunday; the sunnier, drier, cooler day of the weekend as temperatures sink into the 40s - meaning less than half as much water in the air than Saturday.

Summer Siesta. The first few days of next week will feel more like late September than mid-July. Monday will be the chilliest day; highs in the low to mid 60s with scrappy clouds and PM instability showers. Gametime temperatures for the MLB All-Star game will be in the mid 60s after a Tuesday high near 70. The good news: summer stages a comeback by the end of next week - 80s return next weekend.

Arthur's Revenge? One theory circulating among meteorologists. A powerful cyclonic flow around ex-hurricane Arthur (which plowed into the Canadian Maritimes) helped to dislodge unusually chilly air and push it southward towards the USA. That's a plausible theory, but there's now little doubt that jet stream winds will buckle, allowing potentially record-setting chill to pour southward early next week. Typical for early October, but a little unusual for the dead of summer. 500 mb winds: HAMweather.

2-Meter Temperature Outlook. NOAA's NAM model shows highs topping 100F over the central and southern Plains, at the same time 50-degree air surges south across Manitba, treating much of the Upper Mississippi Valley to a bout of rare, mid-summer sweatshirt weather by Monday.

Exclusive: Coastal Flooding Has Surged In U.S., Reuters Finds. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening story from Reuters at The Chicago Tribune: "...During the past four decades, the number of days a year that tidal waters reached or exceeded National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration flood thresholds more than tripled in many places, the analysis found. At flood threshold, water can begin to pool on streets. As it rises farther, it can close roads, damage property and overwhelm drainage systems. Since 2001, water has reached flood levels an average of 20 days or more a year in Annapolis, Maryland; Wilmington, North Carolina; Washington, D.C.; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Sandy Hook, New Jersey; and Charleston, South Carolina. Before 1971, none of those locations averaged more than five days a year. Annapolis had the highest average number of days a year above flood thresholds since 2001, at 34..."

Hurricane Storm-Surge Risks to Property Rise on Atlantic, Gulf Coasts, Study Finds. Here's the intro to a story at The Wall Street Journal: "More than 6.5 million homes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk of hurricane storm-surge damage, with New York City having the most homes and value at risk, according to a new report released Thursday by a company that analyzes property values. The study by CoreLogic found that the vulnerable homes represent $1.5 trillion in potential reconstruction costs, with nearly two-thirds - $986 billion - of that risk concentrated in 15 metro areas..." (File image: USGS).

Map: Every U.S. Hot Car Child Death in 2014. has details on every one of the 16 hot weather-related child deaths in the USA so far this year. It's worth reminding (everyone) that you can't leave kids in a hot car, even for a minute or two, this time of year.

Flooded and Coming Back Stronger. I came across an amazing article about last year's devastating flood in Boulder, Colorado that's worth a look. Check it out in Headwaters: Colorado Foundation for Water Education.

Tornado Alley Migration? Traditional Tornado Alley runs from Texas to Iowa, but in recent years NOAA SPC has issued the most Tornado Watches for southern Alabama and Mississippi, the same area that has the highest tornado concentration and death toll. Not quite what I was expecting, and it's the topic of today's first Climate Matters segment.

Severe Storm Capital of the USA Since 2003: Asheville, North Carolina? I know, I did a double-take too, and 10 years may not be a long enough time to derive any meaningful statistical trends, but the Asheville area receives nearly 40 days/year, on average, with a tornado, severe wind storm or large hail within 25 miles of the city, according to NOAA SPC. That compares with 25 in Atlanta, 21 in Dallas and Denver, 10 in Chicago and roughly 16 in the Twin Cities. L.A. sees an average of 4 severe weather days, with only 1 in the Bay Area and San Diego. Sign me up. Source: NOAA SPC.

The Severe Weather Capital of the USA Since 2003 is....North Carolina? When, exactly, did that happen? The data set isn't very long (since 2003), but looking at tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds Asheville, North Carolina sees more than 3 times more "severe weather days" during an average year than Dallas or Wichita. That's the subject of a second Climate Matters segment: "40 days a year of severe weather makes..... Asheville, NC the severe weather capital of the United States? It's true. The Carolinas see almost 40 days a year with hail and wind gusts over 50 mph. That's a bit of a head scratcher."

It's Hurricane Season. Too Bad The Fed's Aircraft Fleet for Tracking Them Is Kind Of A Mess. Jill Aitoro has the story at The Washington Business Journal; here's a highlight: "...So what’s the problem? As reported by the Government Accountability Office, they’re overburdened. And they’re old. NOAA’s aircraft fly approximately 3,800 to 5,200 flight hours per year. And although most hurricane reconnaissance is conducted by Air Force aircraft, NOAA is required to make its P-3 Orion aircraft available if the Air Force is unable to meet the reconnaissance needs posed by severe weather events. One of NOAA’s two operating P-3 Orion planes must be configured and available to conduct reconnaissance each hurricane season from June 1 to November 30, the GAO noted, and the other P-3 Orion must be available from July 15 to Sept. 30. During these months, the P-3 Orion planes are generally not available for other uses...."

File image: AP.

Voices: Floridians Get Complacent About Hurricanes. It's been 9 years since a major, category 3 or stronger hurricane has hit the U.S. coastline. At some point the law of averages catches up with you. Here's a clip of an Op-Ed at USA TODAY: "...There are several reasons why Floridians have adopted a more casual approach to hurricanes in recent years. Part of it is a new wave of people moving to the state who have no experience with hurricanes or typhoons or anything of the sort. About 1 million people have moved to Florida since the last hurricane hit the state in 2005, according to the U.S. Census. Another factor is how quickly people can forget painful events. McCaughey likens it to childbirth: "We forget how much that hurts..." (Imagery: NASA).

Why New Orleans' Katrina Evacuation Debacle Will Never Happen Again. Next City has an interesting story focused on what New Orleans officials learned in the wake of Superstorm Sandy; how they are much better prepared for the next, inevitable hurricane. Here's an excerpt: "In New Orleans, evacuation requires decisions that must be made early before traffic builds, motels fill up, roads flood, or winds reach dangerous levels. In 2005, when Katrina loomed in the Gulf, most New Orleanians did leave town, but roughly 100,000 were left behind. Many lacked a car or money for transportation, or had special needs that made evacuation impossible. Others were stranded because they practiced “vertical evacuation,” staying with family that lived on higher ground or renting hotel rooms in buildings that had proven safe in the past. “We will never do that again,” said Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed, the city’s deputy mayor of Public Safety and Homeland Security..."

A Reason Millions of Bees are Dying. The Washington Post reports; here's the intro: "In the past several weeks, a spate of studies have appeared in scientific journals suggesting the culprit behind mass deaths of honeybees is widely used pesticides called neonicotinoids. On June 23, President Obama signed a memorandum establishing the first-ever federal pollinator strategy and the Agriculture Department announced $8 million in incentives to farmers and ranchers in five states who establish new habitats for honeybees..."

Bingeing on Bad News Can Fuel Daily Stress. After reading the previous story about bees I'm kind of depressed. This may not come as a shock (to anyone), but if you immerse yourself in a steady drumbeat of negativity and gloomy news, it probably won't help your stress levels. Here's a clip from NPR: "If you're feeling stressed these days, the news media may be partly to blame. At least that's the suggestion of conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. The survey of more than 2,500 Americans found that about 1 in 4 said they had experienced a "great deal" of stress in the previous month. And these stressed-out people said one of the biggest contributors to their day-to-day stress was watching, reading or listening to the news..."

Illustration: Katherine Streeter for NPR.

85 F. high on Thursday in the Twin Cities.

84 F. average high on July 10.

83 F. high on July 10, 2013.

TODAY: Showers and T-storms likely, few downpours. Winds: S 10. High: near 80

FRIDAY NIGHT: Another T-shower. Low: 67

SATURDAY: Some sun, sticky. T-storms late. Dew point: 67. High: 82

SUNDAY: More sun, drier - cooler breeze. Wake-up: 64. High: 79

MONDAY: Early October. Clouds, PM showers. Wake-up: 60. High: 67

TUESDAY: More clouds than sun. DP: 47. Wake-up: 53. High: 70

WEDNESDAY: Bright sun. Beautiful. Wake-up: 55. High: 74

THURSDAY: Fading sun, a bit warmer. Wake-up: 59. High: 77

Climate Stories....

Global Warming Interactive. How Hot Will Your City Get? By the end of the 21st century, if there is no concerted global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, summers may be unrecognizable across muc of the USA, according to Climate Central and InsideClimate News; here's an excerpt: "...According to the research, U.S. cities could be up to 12 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than they are today by 2100. St. Paul, Minnesota could feel like Dallas, Texas. Las Vegas could feel like places in Saudi Arabia, with average temperatures of 111 degrees Fahrenheit. Phoenix could feel like Kuwait City, one of the hottest cities in the world, with average temperatures of 114 degrees Fahrenheit..."

Global Warming Creates Arctic Shipping Route Opportunity. Less ice up north? Here's one silver lining: we can ship stuff faster! Euronews has the video and story; here's an excerpt: "Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines says it going to run the first ever regular commercial shipping route through the Arctic Ocean. Starting in 2018 it plans to initially move liquefied natural gas from the huge LNG plant Russian is to build on the Yamal Peninsula to markets in Europe and Asia. In a joint venture with China Shipping, it will use three icebreakers, which have been ordered from South Korea’s Daewoo..."

Climate Change Solution: Scrap Subsidies, Fund Innovation. Seems like a good idea to me, although we've been subsidizing dirty fossil fuels for a long time, and continue to do so as a nation. Here's an excerpt from The Christian Science Monitor: "Ahead of next year's Paris climate talks, it's time for a new approach to climate change that supports making clean energy cheaper than fossil fuels without subsidies, writes Matthew Stepp of the Center for Clean Energy Innovation. The only way to do that is with more innovation..."

Global Warming Requires More Frequent Rethink of "Normal" Weather: UN. No kidding. As the weather becomes more volatile, responding to more energy and heat in the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere, we're going to see more erratic swings in temperature and moisture. Here's an excerpt from Reuters: "The baseline for "normal" weather used by everyone from farmers to governments to plan ahead needs to be updated more frequently to account for the big shifts caused by global warming, the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday. The WMO's Commission for Climatology believes rising temperatures and more heatwaves and heavy rains mean the existing baseline, based on the climate averages of 1961-90, is out of date as a guide, the WMO said in a statement. "For water resources, agriculture and energy, the old averages no longer reflect the current realities," Omar Baddour, head of the data management applications at the WMO, told Reuters..."

Climate Change: What Are The Risks to Corporations? Fortune has the details; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "Extreme weather events appear to be getting more severe and more frequent, as the recent drought in California and floods in Europe reminded us. Weather events accounted for 90% of natural catastrophe losses in 2013, causing over $120 billion of losses, according to reinsurance company Munich Re. In 2012, the overall effect of climate events on the US and European economies is estimated at more than $5 trillion for each region, or over 30% of their GDP. The investment community – along with regulators – has woken up to this threat. It is demanding more information from companies about their exposure to climate events, as well as the prospective cost of their carbon emissions..."

Saving Water in California. California may be facing a slow-motion water disaster if El Nino-driven rains don't arrive next winter (which is no sure bet). Here's a clip of an Op-Ed from The New York Times Editorial Board: "...California is in the third year of its worst drought in decades. But you wouldn’t know this by looking at how much water the state’s residents and businesses are using. According to a recent state survey, Californians cut the amount of water they used in the first five months of the year by just 5 percent, far short of the 20 percent reduction Gov. Jerry Brown called for in January. In some parts of the state like the San Diego area water use has actually increased from 2013. Without much stronger conservation measures, the state, much of which is arid or semiarid, could face severe water shortages if the drought does not break next year..." (Image above: ThinkStock).

Warm Sun - Slight Severe Storm Risk Up North (June was Wettest Month in Minnesota History)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 5, 2014 - 8:46 AM

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I wish Mother Nature would kick back with a cold one and just take the holiday weekend off. Show a little mercy for weather-weary meteorologists slumped over a hot Doppler.


We live in a state of perpetual paranoia that peaks on major holidays, because we know more people are outside, following the forecast even closer than usual.

I'm up at our cabin north of Brainerd, anxious to disconnect from my laptop and spend some quality time on the pontoon. My goal is to NOT talk about the weather for 72 hours.

No such luck.

The latest warm front sparks a few T-storms today, but enough sun should leak through the haze for 80s. 90F isn't out of the question tomorrow; it would be the first of 2014. We cool off again by midweek, in fact the forecast is almost a carbon copy of last week; evidence of a 7-day storm cycle. After a welcome dip in dew point Wednesday & Thursday we heat up to near 90 again next Friday and Saturday.

Summer took it's sweet old time, but it's finally here.

Mark Seeley reports a statewide average 8.09 inches of rain in June, "A record historical high not only for June, but for any month of the year" he wrote. Glencoe saw 14.6", nearly 4 month's worth! Details below.

* photo credit above: Russ Latimer.

Slight Severe Storm Risk. NOAA SPC has much of northwest and north central Minnesota in a slight risk; the main threat being hail and damaging straight-line winds later today. In the metro area the best chance of showers and T-storms comes during the early morning; I expect enough PM sun for mid-80s (and noticeably higher dew points).

Weekend Details. A warm frontal passage sparks a few showers and T-storms this morning (best chance southern third of Minnesota). The sun should break through by midday and heat us up into the low to mid 80s by late afternoon. Dew points (lower graph) increase, peaking in the low 70s tomorrow before drying out next week). There's still a very good chance MSP will enjoy (?) the first 90-degree high on 2014 tomorrow. Graph: Weatherspark.

June: Wettest Month, Statewide, In Recorded Minnesota History. Dr. Mark Seeley has more details at Minnesota WeatherTalk; here's an excerpt of his latest post: "... On a statewide basis the average rainfall for June was 8.09 inches, a record historical high not only for June, but for any month of the year. The previous wettest months in Minnesota history on a statewide basis were June of 1914 and July of 1897 with values of 7.32 inches. Those individual climate stations setting records for the wettest June include:
Ada 9.20 inches
International Falls 10.24 inches
Littefork 9.23 inches
Waskish 8.93 inches
Kabetogama 11.58 inches
Benson 10.49 inches
Dawson 8.27 inches
Chaska 13.84 inches
Glencoe 14.61 inches

Lightning photo credit: A.J. Pena.

"90-Less" So Far in 2014. Excerpt of an e-mail from Minnesota State Climatologist Greg Spoden:

"Advancing into July without a 90-degree max in the Twin Cities is a relatively common occurrence in the long-term record; roughly one-in-five summers. However, it is less common in recent decades: occurring only in 1974, 1981, 1993, 2003, and 2014 over the past 40 years. (see: )

There have been three summers in the Twin Cities record where 90 degrees was never reached at all: 1902, 1915, and 1993. You may recall the summer of 1993. Like this year (thus far), the summer of 1993 was extraordinarily wet in the Midwest. It's interesting to note that the previous summer, 1992, reported only three 90-degree days. On average, 1992 was far colder than 1993. Similar to this year to-date, average temperatures in 1993 were propped up by elevated minimum temperatures due to the persistent cloudiness

Outer Bank Mops Up and Counts Storm's Costs. The New York Times has a good overview of impacts from Arthur across North Carolina's Outer Banks; here's an excerpt: "...And here, as well as in the other small communities that together make up the Outer Banks and serve as a hub for tourism, there was a deep sense of relief. Although the center of the hurricane made a surprising shift to the west as it neared North Carolina, reports of damage were limited. The hurricane was the first of this season and the first Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2012..."

Photo credit above: "This Friday, July 4, 2014 aerial photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard shows flooding caused by Hurricane Arthur on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Arthur struck North Carolina as a Category 2 storm with winds of 100 mph late Thursday, taking about five hours to move across the far eastern part of the state." (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer 3rd Class David Weydert).

Alerts Broadcaster Briefing: Issued Friday afternoon, July 4. Final update on Arthur.

Cleaning Up The Mess. Coast Guard helicopters captured the extent of storm surge flooding from Arthur across North Carolina's Outer Banks. Weather-related injuries have been kept to a minimum, but the damage toll from Arthur will almost certainly rise in the multiple millions of dollars.

  • Governor of NC says the beaches are open for business.
  • Repairs are underway and efforts are being remade to restore access to Highway 12 and Hatteras Island (More: Until then, access to and from Hatteras Island on Highway 12 will remain closed.  This includes the Villages of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Avon, Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras.
  • The number of power outages continues to decrease across the area. Numbers as of 1:30 CT:
    • Duke Energy: 4,300+ customers across North Carolina
    • Dominion Electric: ~100 customers in North Carolina & 1,100+ customers in Virginia.
    • NC Electric Coops: ~23,000 AS OF 8:30 THIS MORNING - no updated number this afternoon as of yet
  • No reported casualties.
  • Ferry service to Ocracoke Island is resuming this afternoon, though with restrictions. More:
  • The USCG Mid-Atlantic has great photos of flooding in the Outer Banks:
  • Mass EMA says greatest impacts between 9PM and Midnight, with minor coastal flooding and beach erosion on north side of Nantucket. Widespread 3-5" rain amounts possible.

Category 1 Arthur Weakens Slowly, Lashing New England with Flooding Rains and Tropical Storm-Force Winds. After sparking moderate wind and wave-related damage across North Carolina's Outer Banks Arthur is still a formidable Category 1 storm capable of widespread weather disruptions tonight from Providence to Cape Cod to Boston, with rain/wind impacts spreading up the coast of Maine late tonight and early Saturday. Serious flooding has been reported around New Bedford, MA, where Doppler radar rainfall estimates have been as high as 5". As much as 7-10" may fall by midnight, sparking serious flash flooding and additional river flooding in the days to come. Arthur will gradually weaken to tropical storm status, losing many of its tropical characteristics late tonight as it lashes coastal Maine.

10 PM Tonight: Very Close Encounter for Cape Cod. Models still show 60-80 mph winds whipping around Arthur's eyewall later this evening, and wind gusts may be in the 30-50 mph range for much of Cape Cod, high enough to bring down tree branches and powerlines - expect sporadic power outages from near Providence and Nantucket to Cape Cod and much of Downeast Maine by Saturday morning.

Models Underestimating Rainfall from Arthur. Our internal models were printing out some 3-6" amounts for eastern Massachusetts and Downeast Maine, but near New Bedford and Hyannis, MA amounts may top 8", increasing the risk of serious flash flooding overnight, and 2-5 days of extensive river flooding into the middle of next week. Map: WeatherNation TV.

Potential for Significant River Flooding. The area we're watching extends from near Providence, Barnstable and New Bedford to Plymount and the suburbs of Boston. Many streams and rivers will be out of their banks for at least 72-96 hours, the resulf of 2+ month's worth of rain falling in less than 15 hours, all tropical moisture pumped north by Arthur.

Summary: Although damage across North Carolina's Outer Banks was moderate, no confirmed fatalities have been reported from Arthur, a testament to advance warning and local officials making the call for mandatory/voluntary evacuations. Arthur is still packing a formidable punch, and more weather-related impacts are likely across coastal New England into early Saturday, followed by rapid improvement tomorrow as the soggy remains of Arthur push toward Nova Scotia, the storm the rough equivalent of a severe wintertime Nor'easter. This will be the last update on Arthur unless we see a significant change in track or intensity.

Paul Douglas - Senior Meteorologist - Alerts Broadcaster

The AI (Artificial Intelligence) Boss that Deploys Hong Kong's Subway Engineers. Why do I think we'll all be working for computers within 20 years? Maybe sooner, as computers become more powerful and learn over time. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening story at New Scientist: "Just after midnight, the last subway car slips into its sidings in Hong Kong and an army of engineers goes to work. In a typical week, 10,000 people carry out 2600 engineering works across the system – from grinding rough rails smooth and replacing tracks to checking for damage. People might do the work, but they don't choose what needs doing. Instead, each task is scheduled and managed by artificial intelligence..."

Minneapolis: 4th "Least Stressed Out" City in America? That according to; here's an excerpt: "The winters may be a bear, but Minneapolis' residents enjoy a quality of life that's hard to beat. Less than 11% of the city's residents live below the poverty line, one of the lowest rates of all 55 metro areas that CNNMoney analyzed. Unemployment is also low, due in part to a number of large Fortune 500 companies, ranging from Target (TGT) and Best Buy (BBY) to Hormel Foods (HRL) and UnitedHealth Group (UNH)..." (Photo credit: Meet Minneapolis).

Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich? An Extended Meditation on the Nature of America. This guy is sure reading a lot into a simple hot dog (projecting a bit?) but I found his ruminations interesting on some level. Hot dog as a proxy for American reinvention and exceptionalism? Here's a clip from The Guardian: "...America is a country founded by people from someplace else on ideas borrowed from someplace else, ultimately to try to distinguish itself from every place else. It is a fraught balance of identity – to take and be of an other, yet define yourself by contrast to that other. This is the strange impulse of our "exceptionalism", to always borrow something and modify it slightly, then declare the end result definitively, uniquely American. You can see this at play with the hot dog: the sandwich and sausage were both invented elsewhere..."

Photo credit above: "Joey Chestnut is widely favored to win this year's International Hot Dog Eating Contest again. The contest speaks to hot dogs' portability and minimal mess." Photograph: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters.

V8 Wet Road: The Luxury Yacht of Personal Watercraft? Yes, every lake should have at least one, although for the record it's still "in development", but the specs show a top speed of 65 mph, traveling in singular style. Gizmag has more details: "If you're a millionaire who wants the ultimate in opulence for your sea voyages, you get yourself a luxury yacht. However, what about those times when you're just playing around? Currently, you get the same Jet Ski-type thing as everyone else ... although there may soon be an alternative. Yacht designer Kurt Strand has just announced his forthcoming Strand Craft V8 Wet Rod luxury personal watercraft..."

78 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

83 F. average high on July 4.

90 F. high on July 4, 2013.

TODAY: Partly sunny, more humid with a few T-storms, especially northern MN, where a few may be severe. Dew point: 66. Winds: S 15. High: 85

SATURDAY NIGHT: A few T-storms possible, still sticky. Low: 72

SUNDAY: Hot sun, isolated T-storm. High: near 90

MONDAY: Morning sun, PM T-shower risk. Wake-up: 68. High: 83

TUESDAY: Unsettled, lingering T-showers. Wake-up: 63. High: 81

WEDNESDAY: More sun, cooler and less humidity. Dew point: 54. Wake-up: 61. High: 78

THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, still pleasant. Wake-up: 58. High: 81

FRIDAY: Sunny, heating up again. Dew point: 66. Wake-up: 67. High: 89

Climate Stories...

Obama Advisory on Front Lines of Climate Fight. The New York Times has the story - here's a clip: "...But it also acknowledged a truth: Mr. Holdren has this president’s ear, perhaps more than any White House science adviser in recent memory, at a time when climate change has been thrust to the forefront of national politics and could help shape Mr. Obama’s legacy. Mr. Holdren’s influence can be seen in many of the administration’s policies, including its biggest on climate change — the plan to cut power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, the main contributor to global warming..."

The Declaration of Interdependence and Jefferson's Brilliant "Statement of Intergenerational Equity". Do we have a moral responsibility, as Americans, to future generations? Thomas Jefferson sure thought so. Here's an excerpt from a story at Think Progress: "...By saying that it is a self-evident truth that all humans are created equal and that our inalienable rights include life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, our Founding Fathers were telling us that we are all in this together, that we are interdependent, that we have a moral duty to protect these inalienable rights for all humans. President Lincoln, perhaps above all others, was instrumental in making clear that the second sentence of the Declaration was “a moral standard for which the United States should strive,” as Wikipedia puts it. The double appeal to “Nature” — including the explicit appeal to “the laws of Nature” in the first sentence — is particularly salient..."

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Ignorance is Bliss. Thanks to David Horsey at The Los Angeles Times for highlighting the idiocy of our carbon-fueled global joy ride.

Climate Report Focuses on Midwest Flooding, Storms and Region's Future. Here's a clip from an interesting read at EcoWatch: "Here are some facts in the report, issued by five scientists: 

  • Precipitation in the Midwest has been increasing since the ’30s, including increases in overall precipitation and an increase in extreme precipitation events.
  • Midwest flooding presents a major economic risk in the Midwest—the 1993 Mississippi flood was the costliest flood in modern times after Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, another flood in Cedar Rapids incurred over $10 billion in damages.
  • These historic floods were caused by persistent heavy rainfall. Research shows that the trend towards heavier rainfall events has resulted in an overall increase in flood risk across the region.
  • The risk of levee failure is a significant hazard, as the Midwest contains nearly 4,000 miles of levees, many of which are in poor condition. 

Photo credit above: "An Island Press report expounds on the dangers climate change is presenting and will continue to present in states like Iowa." Photo credit: National Climate Assessment.

Hot Zone. Is Climate Change Destabilizing Iraq? This is why we need to pay attention to increasing climate volatility. Drought can quickly become a force-multiplier, setting revolutions (and new caliphates in Iraq) into motion. Here's an excerpt from a story at Slate: "...Drought is becoming a fixture in the parched landscape, due to a drying trend of the Mediterranean and Middle East region fueled by global warming. The last major drought in this region (2006-2010) finished only a few years ago. When taken in combination with other complex drivers, increasing temperatures and drying of agricultural land is widely seen as assisting in the destabilization of Syria under the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Before civil war broke out there, farmers abandoned their desiccated fields and flooded the cities with protests. A series of U.N. reports released earlier this year found that global warming is already destabilizing nation states around the world, and Syria has been no exception..."

File photo from Mosul, Iraq: Moises Saman/The New York Times.

Climate Change Affects U.S.'s Anti-Terrorism Efforts. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed from a former Army Officer at The Des Moines Register: "...Some of the least stable states in the world will face changing weather patterns that reduce arable land and fresh-water supplies, in turn driving mass-migration, provoking resource conflicts and fostering global health threats. As a former Army officer, I have seen firsthand how “climate disruption” puts more of my fellow soldiers at greater risk. Both the creeping effects of climate change, producing gradual shifts over time, as well as the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters pose unique threats to global security..."

The Disaster We've Wrought On The World's Oceans May Be Irrevocable. Talk about a harrowing read. Here's a clip from Newsweek's cover story: "...The last is the least understood of these phenomena. Along the coasts and out in the deep, huge “dead zones” have been multiplying. They are the emptiest places on the planet, where there’s little oxygen and sometimes no life at all, almost entirely restricted to some unicellular organisms like bacteria. Vast blooms of algae—organisms that thrive in more acid (and less alkaline) seawater and are fed by pollution—have already rendered parts of the Baltic Sea pretty much dead. A third of the marine life in that sea, which once fed all of Northern Europe, is gone and may already be beyond hope of recovery. “There’s a profound game-changing event going on in the life of the sea,” says Callum Roberts, a professor of marine conservation at the University of York, England..."