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.
A Defining Chill
What unites residents of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth? Cheering on Gophers, Twins, Vikes, Wolves and The Wild. And by The Wild I mean our increasingly manic weather patterns.
What may turn into the coldest arctic outbreak in a decade is on the way. Not a casual cold front, but at least two separate waves of "Holy Thinsulate - get me out of here!" Siberian Surges. An old fashioned cold wave spilling into mid-December.
I'm predicting 5 subzero nights through the middle of next week; in spite of a Yukon-blue sky daytime "highs" may not rise above 0F on Saturday. Late week wind chills may dip to -25F or colder.
Bitter blasts are often preceded by significant snow, and we're still on track for some 4-14 inch snowfall amounts over central & northern Minnesota by Thursday; maybe 2 feet along Lake Superior's North Shore.
Today will offer a wintry mix, the rain-snow line hovering over MSP - rain and sleet mixing with wet snow at times, mainly wet roads in the metro area. As temperatures cool a changeover to snow is likely tonight, maybe 2-4" tonight into Wednesday - the best chance of 3 or 4" northern suburbs. The farther north you drive up I-35 and 371 the heavier the amounts, but enough warm air pushes north for a sloppy winter mix in the metro today. ECMWF model data still hints at a few inches of snow Wednesday in the metro.
Temperatures drop below 0F Thursday, and may stay there until Sunday afternoon - before a reinforcing blast arrives next week. Here we go!
Coldest Thanksgiving In 20 Years - Here Comes The Real Deal. Last week's chill was just the appetizer; the main course comes later this week, another Yukon punch early next week. Some slight moderation is expected after December 15, but the next week to 10 days will leave no doubt in your mind that winter has arrived. We track the cold wave, and take a look back at a chilly Thanksgiving holiday, and why (many) retailers were smiling in today's edition of Climate Matters: "WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas has a forecast for those that love winter. Brutal Arctic chills, snow, and lots of it for much of the northern tier of the United States. Also, just how does this Thanksgiving stack up against previous ones?"
Snow By Midday Today. The HopWRF shows significant snows setting up north and east of MSP, a band of 6-9" from near Lake Mille Lacs to Cambridge, Taylors Falls to Spooner, Wisconsin by noon today.
Updated RPM Model. WSI's latest 12km RPM model shows 2-4" of snow by Wednesday evening, with some 6" amounts from St. Cloud into the far northern suburbs - closer to 8-12" from Hibbing to Duluth.
Latest NAM Numbers. A wintry mix is expected in the Twin Cities today; mainly wet, sloppy roads with surface temperatures (just) above 32F, but snow will stick 30-75 miles north/east of MSP. Latest NAM numbers are more impressive, showing the axis of heaviest snow from Redwood Falls into the Twin Cities; some 4-8" amounts possible. I still don't think the immediate metro will see that much, but far northern/western suburbs stand the best chance of 4-6"+ amounts, and it should be enough to plow and shovel late tonight and Wednesday across most of the Twin Cities & suburbs. Map: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Ouch. Other, more colorful words came to mind, but ouch will suffice for now. What may be one of the coldest airmasses in a decade arrives late this week, a second reinforcing smack of bitter air next week. The ECMWF (above) may be overestimating the cold a bit, but I still expect double-digit subzero lows Friday and Saturday morning, again a couple days next week. Parts of central Minnesota could easily see lows in the -20 to -30F range. I know, unreasonably cold.
Subzero Saturday? By 6am Saturday the GFS shows the 0F isotherm near the Minnesota-Iowa border. In spite of bright sun temperatures may not climb above 0F Saturday afternoon, a rare subzero maximum at MSP. At least winds will ease by then. Chill factors Thursday and Friday may dip to -20F in the metro, -30 to -40 over parts of central and northern Minnesota. We're about to get our cold weather bragging rights back.
Cold Wave. Misery loves company, and as we take turns complaining about the chill, at least least the rest of America will be whining right along with us. The solid red line marks the 32F isotherm, the solid green line shows the 0F temperature sagging southward by Thursday. If you have any frequent flier miles you might want to consider cashing them in. Quickly. NAM 12km guidance courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.
Coldest Thanksgiving Since 1993 for USA. Here's an excerpt of a report from Planalytics - good shopping weather, it turns out: "...Overall, it was significantly colder than Thanksgiving Day last year, which was the warmest since 1998. Across the entire U.S., the 2013 Black Friday weekend (November 28 – December 1) was the coldest in 4 years. The Mid-Atlantic, New England, and East North Central regions had their coldest Black Friday weekend in over 15 years, and the South Atlantic region was coldest since 2002. New York City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Charlotte, and New Orleans are just a few of the major markets which had their coldest Black Friday weekend in over 15 years. Boston was coldest since 2000, while Detroit, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Nashville, and Richmond were each coldest since 2002."
Coldest November Since 2000. Here's another timely clip from the weather analysts at Planalytics: "In the U.S., November 2013 was the coldest since 2000 and much colder than normal. Precipitation and snowfall were both greater than last year, although still below normal. Canada had its coldest November since 1996. Rain and snowfall were both greater than last year, although below normal.
"...Although the first real snow of the season is [on the ground/ in the forecast], the first signs of spring are already showing up in the time of sunset. The sun is now within one minute of its earliest setting of the winter season. This will come in less than a week, on Dec. 9, when the sun will set at 4:31 PM. After that it sets later every day, reaching 4:41 PM by New Years Eve and then 5 PM by Jan. 17. It's true that the shortest day of the year is Dec. 21, but the December acceleration of the earth in its orbit around the sun distorts the time of earliest sunset back to Dec. 9. To compensate, the sun will be rising later every day until Dec. 30, when it's latest sunrise at 7:51 AM." - consulting meteorologist Dean DeHarpporte.
One Perfect Rainbow. Thanks to the Billings office of the National Weather Service (and Twitter) for sharing this one.
Farmers Describe "Worst Storm In 150 Years". The freakish October blizzard that hit the Black Hills of South Dakota is still making news - here's a clip from The BBC: "Nearly two months after devastating blizzards hit parts of South Dakota and Wyoming, farmers are still recovering from the loss of cattle and the effect on their businesses. The week before the storm, it had been wet and mild and the prairies of the Great Plains were deep in mud. Then, the first winter snow came early and unexpectedly in an icy blast from the north-west. Trapped in the mud, 30,000 cattle suffocated and froze to death. They were buried in 20ft (6m) snow drifts, entombed in ice in what ranchers call the "breaks and draws" - the slopes and valleys - of the rolling prairie hills..." (Photo: AP).
"Forecast Bust". Why 2013 Hurricane Predictions Were So Wrong. It was a season that left many tropical meteorologists scratching their heads. NPR has the audio interview; here's an excerpt: "Forecasters expected the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season to be really busy — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told Americans to expect between seven and 11 hurricanes. But this year has been one of the quietest on record. Why were the predictions so far off?"
Scientists Improve Models That Can Predict Killer Cyclone Surge. Similarities between Haiyan's catastrophic storm surge in the Philippines and the killer surge that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900? Here's an excerpt of new research into storm surges at E&E Publishing: "...Tacloban's surge was possibly the highest recorded in the Philippines, rivaling the 24-foot surge record set in 1897, Needham noted. But in that surge, the researcher saw more than a record. He saw a comparison. Needham is a self-proclaimed "extreme weather" enthusiast, whose blog, Hurricane Hal's Storm Surge Blog, analyzes present and past cyclones. His ability to run down historic storm surges is similar to how a farmer can rattle off past bumper crops and famine years..."
Photo credit above: "The result of the storm surge that swept over Tacloban in the Philippines." Photo by Ton Carmello Pido Tallon.
Sydney Records Warmest Spring On Record. Weatherzone has the story - here's the introduction: "Sydney has recorded its warmest spring on record, largely due to a fiery September and October. The combined minimum and maximum for the New South Wales capital of 19.9 degrees for spring comfortably broke the previous record of 19.5 degrees set in 1988. The average maximum of 24.7 degrees smashed the previous record set in 2002 of 24.2 degrees..."
Sickweather Tracks, Then Alerts You Of Nearby Illnesses. Yes, there's even an app for that - reports of flu and other bugs surrounding your neighborhood or GPS location. CNET has more details: "...Download the free Sickweather app from the App Store, designate which viruses and conditions you want to be alerted of, and let the app do the rest. By scanning social networks for mentions of specific illnesses while filtering out redundant phrases or random uses of the word "sick" (and the like), Sickweather is able to plot where the plague has occurred on a map. When you approach an area marked on the map, you'll receive an alert of the illness and when it was last reported..."
Image credit above: Jason Cipriani/CNET.
Four Auto Features That Make Driving Easier For The Elderly. Nice photo selection for this article. Wow. What is that, a Model T? Business Insider Australia has the story - here's a clip: " Driving as a senior citizen can be hard: According to AAA, nearly 90% of drivers 65 and older suffer from health issues that affect their ability to drive safely. But as I learned when I put on a crazy suit to see what it’s like to drive as an 80-year-old man, there are lots of features that can make things easier..."
Dear Santa - Please Don't Screw Up The URL. I do this with my wife, to make sure I get the right size and color, and now kids have caught on in their pleas to Santa. Or is it a promotional device for Amazon? Details from Yahoo News.
38 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
32 F. average high for December 2.
40 F. high on December 2, 2012.
.5" half an inch of snow fell yesterday.
1.6" snow has fallen so far this winter in the Twin Cities.
10.7" amount of snow that should have fallen as of December 2 at KMSP.
TODAY: Wintry mix - rain mixed with wet snow. Mainly wet roads metro. Winds: E 10. High: 37
TUESDAY NIGHT: Rain changes to mostly snow. Low: 29
WEDNESDAY: 2-4" of snow possible (best chance of 3 or 4" north metro). Slick roads. High: near 30 (sharply colder Wednesday night).
THURSDAY: Some sun. Temperature tumble. Wake-up: 4. High: 7
FRIDAY: Dangerously cold with intervals of sun. Feels like -20F. Wake-up: -8. High: 2
SATURDAY: A blue, arctic sky. Less wind. Wake-up: -13. High: -1
SUNDAY: Few inches of additional snow possible. Icy roads. Wake-up: -8. High: 12
MONDAY: Clearing, second reinforcing shot of numb arrives. Wake-up: 8. High: 10
"The problem is that enough people aren’t willing to change their own behaviors or pay to support an aggressive anti-emissions program right now. That’s not simply because of oil-company lobbying. It’s because fossil fuels are cheap. They are abundant, energy-rich and easy to transport." - Editorial, Washington Post.
Power In 2030 - The Roads We May Take. Daniel Yergin, who has written extensively about energy and oil, has a very interesting Op-Ed in The New York Times, focused on America's energy mix going forward, a smooth transition toward less polluting and renewable fuels, or a vortex of pain? Here's an excerpt: "...How, then, to assess the energy future? One way is through the use of scenarios. These are not meant to be predictions or forecasts, but rather plausible ‘‘stories’’ about the future. They help to identify what seems to be predetermined, the things you can count on. They also highlight the driving forces and big uncertainties — and even the potential surprises before they occur. The scenarios below are written from the vantage point of 2030. Drawing on work that I oversaw at the research firm IHS, of which I am vice chairman, I propose three futures: ‘‘Global Redesign,’’ ‘‘Meta’’ and ‘‘Vortex.’’ Each is quite plausible but leads to very different balances between conventional energy — oil, natural gas and coal — and renewables like solar and wind..."
Image credit: Eion Ryan.
Sports Bigs Step Up On Climate Change - And They're Not Tree Huggers. Here's an excerpt of a story at The New York Daily News: "...But here was husky Craig Harnett, the NHL’s chief financial officer, talking about ponds on which many players grew up no longer freezing. “To the extent it becomes more difficult to create ice, you’re limiting access. Already in this country, there is not enough access to ice time.” He detailed league involvement with new HVAC systems in arenas and on-site renewable energy. Similarly, some MLB stadiums use solar-panel systems and wind turbines to reduce their carbon footprints. The NFL will be planting 27,000 trees, managing food recovery and taking other environmentally mindful steps in the lead up to and after February’s Super Bowl in New Jersey..."
Something In The Weather Tells Us Climate Change Is Real. Yes, as I've been describing for 15 years the Symphony of Seasons is playing out of tune - the patterns have shifted. Here's a clip of an Op-Ed at The St. Louis Post Dispatch that caught my eye: "...I suspect that nearly everyone who reads this knows deep inside that something isn’t right with the weather. Science has been telling us for decades what “isn’t right.” The atmosphere has too much carbon and it’s trapping more heat, like a thicker blanket over the earth. My dad taught me something else very important and this explains why I spoke to the Environmental Protection Agency, why I give talks in the community and why I’m writing this letter. He taught me to do the right thing. It’s time for all of us “to do the right thing” and listen to what we all know deep down to be true. The evidence is overwhelming — which is why climate scientists worldwide now are 95 percent confident climate change is manmade. Not one major scientific body in the world disputes it. And don’t forget the threat the Pentagon sees..."
Tech Leaders, Economists Split Over Clean Energy's Prospects. Here's a clip of a story from NPR: "...Kammen thinks advances in technology are on the horizon that could push the United States rapidly away from fossil fuels. If we put a price on the environmental damage caused by carbon dioxide, clean forms of energy like solar would become comparatively cheaper, he says. That would trigger a whole new relationship between people and energy, he says, as homeowners produce power instead of simply consuming it. People would have a powerful reason to install solar panels and store some of that energy in the batteries in their electric cars — and even send short bursts of it to the power grid..."
Life is random; our future ultimately unknowable. Maybe that's why we take some small comfort in the weather forecast. It's one of the few things we can anticipate with any level of skill.
Perfect? Not by a long shot. The 24-hour forecast accuracy, nationwide, is 88 percent. It's human nature to remember the 12 percent of the time we blow it. Day 3-7 accuracy is improving about 1 percent every year, and new technology has made "surprise" tornadoes, floods & blizzards more unlikely.
Predicting the future is hard. Ask any stock broker or economist. How's your fantasy football team doing? Welcome to my world.
NOAA is predicting a slight cool bias for the Red River Valley into February; no clear trend toward wetter or drier weather for the Upper Midwest. The 90-day outlook is interesting to ponder, but confidence levels are very low, especially this winter. I still think we'll wind up slightly milder; an earlier spring in 2014 than we had this year.
Expect colder than average temperatures into Thanksgiving week but no major storms close to home. A soaking rain may slow things down out east Tuesday & Wednesday; long-range guidance now hinting at a warming trend by the first week of December.
Fresh Air. ECMWF guidance suggests temperatures will struggle just to reach 20F in the MSP metro area Saturday, a slow warming trend kicking in Sunday and Monday before another cool-down by the middle of next week. No big storms are brewing next week, a clipper-like system may spark a dusting or coating of light snow next Thursday night. Graph: Weatherspark.
Ski Texas. The 12km NAM model shows some (very) plowable amounts of snow over northern Texas and southern Oklahoma. Skiers will be happy over southern Colorado - lake effect snows piling up as deep as 4-8" into Sunday night. Map: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Blue Norther. That's what they call vigorous Canadian cold fronts racing across Texas, capable of dropping temperatures 40F or more in the span of a few hours, sometimes under blue skies. The 32F isotherm pushes as far south as Mexico, helping to whip up significant snow and ice across Texas. A frost/freeze is possible from Huntsville to Atlanta by Sunday morning. Animation: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Coldest Weather Into Early December: New England. The winds aloft will be "modified Pacific" for much of the central and western USA into the first week of December, the coldest winds of Canada brushing New England over the next 1-2 weeks. Map: NOAA.
Extended Temperatures Outlook. The map above shows NAEFS guidance between November 29 and December 5, a chilly bias for much of the south and east, while temperatures begin to moderate over the rest of the USA. Map: NOAA.
A Wintry Sting. The coldest air of the winter season is draining south, sparking heavy snow over the southern Plains by Sunday, a noticeable wind chill east of the Rockies. In today's Climate Matters we track the chill, define a "Blue Norther" and take a look at Thanksgiving weather for a few select cities across the USA: "WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas shows the newly released NOAA Winter outlook which gives 50/50 chances for much of the US. The Thanksgiving forecast is looking a bit chilly, especially depending on where you live. And Finally, just what is a Blue Norther? And why can it cause a 60° temp drop in a few hours?"
Winter Temperature Outlook. NOAA just released their latest prediction for December through February. Their Climate Prediction Center shows a cool bias for the Dakotas and Red River Valley, considerably warmer than average temperatures expected over the southern USA and portions of New England, as well as western Alaska. Interesting fodder for casual conversations about the weather, but (as always) don't bet the farm based on (any) long range forecast.
NOAA's Winter Precipitation Outlook. This is something of a head-scratcher, a slight dry bias for portions of the Southwest and Southeast, wetter/snowier than average for the northern Rockies, otherwise go ahead and flip a coin - most of America forecast to see winter precipitation very close to average.
* Mile Halpert at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center has a video clip with more details here.
Super Bowl 2014 Forecast: 50 Years Of Weather Stats Hint At Mother Nature's Playbook. Speaking of vague, nebulous long-range forecasts. When in doubt, which is much of the time, come to think of it, go with the long-term weather averages. Here's an excerpt of a good story about Super Bowl 2014 weather predictions for New Jersey from The Star Ledger at nj.com: "Throw out the Farmer’s Almanac. The forecast for kickoff time at Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium: Partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid- to upper-30s. Obviously, pinning down the exact forecast for the big game three months out is impossible, but statistically, based on historical records provided by the state’s climatologist, that is the most likely scenario when the nation’s most prominent sporting event comes to New Jersey. Could it be 65 degrees and clear? Sure. Could it be 20 with blizzard conditions? It’s not out of the question..."
Photo credit above: "A chilly, but dry evening is the most likely weather for kickoff at the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium." (Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger).
Judah Cohen's Winter Outlook: A Downer For East Coast Winter Weather Lovers. Cohen specializes in long range forecasting, and his recent track record is impressive. He has perfected the art of linking snowcover in Sibera with weather downwind over North America, but this year he sees conflicting signals. Here's a clip from an interview conducted with The Capital Weather Gang: "...I have to admit that I am struggling with how to interpret the conflicting predictions based on Siberian snow cover. . . . Based on what I have seen so far the hemispheric circulation of the atmosphere has evolved more consistently as if the Siberian snow cover was below normal or closer to the prediction derived from the SAI. Therefore, this favors an overall positive winter AO. However I do see signs, based on the large-scale energy propagation of the atmosphere, that favor building of high pressure in the mid-high latitudes in the near term and that should help to support colder temperatures and even a negative AO right at the start of winter. Eventually I would expect atmospheric conditions to favor a more positive AO but that is no guarantee..."
Graphic credit above: "The correlation between the Snow Advance Index (SOI) and Arctic Oscillation (AO) over time." (Judah Cohen).
Persistent Drought. NOAA's forecast through the end of February, 2014, shows drought conditions persisting from much of the Midwest into the Southwest. Drought conditions are forecast to develop over the Southeast, from Mobile to Atlanta, Jacksonville and the Carolinas.
Oregon Department Of Forestry Experiences Record-Breaking Wildfire Season. More details from OregonLive.com; here's the intro: "Oregon Department of Forestry officials will report to a legislative committee on Thursday about the costs of the wildfire season, asking for money to balance the books. This happens every year, but this time the numbers are historic. "This was the most costly season in history," said Dan Postrel, ODF spokesman. The season cost ODF a record $122 million and burned more than 100,000 acres of land under the department's responsibility. That's the most acreage scorched in one season in 60 years, Postrel said..."
Photo credit above: "The Douglas complex in southern Oregon was one of the most challenging wildfires during the 2013 season, persisting until mid-September." (Randy L. Rasmussen/The Oregonian)
Losses From Extreme Weather Rise To $200 Billion A Year Over Past Decade. Reuters has the story; here's an excerpt: "Global economic losses caused by extreme weather events have risen to nearly $200 billion a year over the last decade and look set to increase further as climate change worsens, a report by the World Bank showed on Monday. A United Nations' panel of scientists has warned that floods, droughts and storms are likely to become more severe over the next century as greenhouse gas emissions warm the world's climate. "Economic losses are rising - from $50 billion each year in the 1980s to just under $200 billion each year in the last decade and about three quarters of those losses are a result of extreme weather," said Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development...
Which Countries Are Most At Risk From Super Storms And Extreme Weather? AlterNet has the story - here's an excerpt: "...All ten of the countries most at risk from extreme events in the 1993 to 2012 period were developing countries, emphasizing the message in Warsaw that poor countries cannot cope with the increasing number of catastrophes by themselves. The major issue at the conference in the wake of the current Philippine disaster is how to finance “loss and damage” caused by an increasingly unstable climate. The index, compiled by a think tank called Germanwatch from figures supplied by the giant re-insurance company Munich Re, lists ten countries most affected in 2012 and the long-term climate risk from loss of life and damage from 1993 to 2012..." (Image: NASA).
You Can't Censor Smog. China knows it has a big problem - here's a clip from Slate: "China is a notoriously difficult country for outsiders to get a handle on, but two things are immediately obvious the second you exit the airport. One, that the country is undergoing an unprecedented level of economic growth. Two, the country is in the midst of an ecological catastrophe. You literally breathe in both of them. Despite all I had read before going to China last month, I was a bit blasé about Beijing’s famous smog. I’ve lived in cities all my life and once spent a few months in Moscow—a place not exactly known for its pristine air quality. Surely, for a three-day visit, it couldn’t be that bad..."
The IPO Of You And Me: How Normal People Are Becoming Corporations. Would you be willing to take some up-front cash now for a percentage of future earnings? Some people are doing just that, as reported at New York Magazine; here's an excerpt: "What do Twitter, Berkshire Hathaway, and your best friend Dave have in common? Pretty soon, you might be able to buy stock in all three. We've heard a lot about corporate personhood – the idea that, as one former Massachusetts governor put it, "Corporations are people." But there's a new hot concept in the land of personal finance: personal corporatehood, the notion that people can act like corporations. Increasingly, amid record-high stock markets that have rewarded anything with a ticker symbol, normal people are finding new ways to sell stock, lash themselves to investors, and throw themselves at the market's mercy..."
When Your TV Is Watching You. If you weren't already creeped out, you will be after reading this story at DoctorBeet's Blog; here's an excerpt: "Earlier this month I discovered that my new LG Smart TV was displaying ads on the Smart landing screen. After some investigation, I found a rather creepy corporate video advertising their data collection practices to potential advertisers. It's quite long but a sample of their claims are as follows: LG Smart Ad analyses users favourite programs, online behaviour, search keywords and other information to offer relevant ads to target audiences. For example, LG Smart Ad can feature sharp suits to men, or alluring cosmetics and fragrances to women..."
Manta Resort Offers A Private Island Where You Sleep Beneath The Waves. Gizmag has a story about a very unique hotel; here's a clip: "Underwater accommodations seem to have become a trend among hotels in recent years, but a resort off the coast of Tanzania is now putting a unique spin on the concept. The Manta Resort recently unveiled its Underwater Room, a three-floor suite that floats beside a thriving coral reef and boasts a submerged master bedroom surrounded by windows to view the local sea life..."
39 F. high Thursday in the Twin Cities.
38 F. average high on November 21.
62 F. high on November 21, 2012 (!)
.01" rain fell yesterday, freezing into glaze ice during the late afternoon and evening.
Trace of snow fell at MSP International yesterday.
November 21 in Minnesota Weather History:
1996: Heavy snowfall accumulated over the same areas that were hit two days earlier. Four to seven inches of snowfall were reported across the area. Heavier snowfall occurred during the daylight hours of the 23rd. Snowfall totals of six inches were reported in the Twin Cities, Chanhassen, Stewart, St. James and Redwood Falls.
1970: Gale driven snow across Minnesota. 45 mph winds over Rochester and Duluth.
TODAY: Partly sunny, almost average. Winds: SW 10. High: 32
FRIDAY NIGHT: Few flurries, then windy and sharply colder. Low: 13
SATURDAY: Sunny, a fine arctic breeze. Wind chill: 5. High: near 20
SUNDAY: Plenty of sun, not as cold. Wake-up: 14. High: near 30
MONDAY: Intervals of sun, thawing out. Wake-up: 29. High: 37
TUESDAY: A colder clipper, still dry under partly sunny skies. Wake-up: 23. High: 30
WEDNESDAY: Chilliest day next week. Cold sun, good travel. Wake-up: 13. High: 21
THANKSGIVING DAY: Fading sun, flurries at night? Wake-up: 14. High: 25
Just 90 Companies Caused Two-Thirds Of Man-Made Global Warming Emissions. Details from The Guardian: "The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests. The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms. The analysis, which was welcomed by the former vice-president Al Gore as a "crucial step forward" found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal, found the analysis, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Climatic Change..."
Graphic above courtesy of Carbon Majors.
* Andrew Revkin at The New York Times asks, are these 90 companies to blame, or are we, as consumers of these products and services, ultimately to blame?
Cheap But Imperfect: Can Geoengineering Slow Climate Change? God help us if it gets to the point where we're pouring chemicals into the stratosphere to try to cool things down. Let's hope it doesn't get to that point. The German publication Der Spiegel has the story - here's the intro: "Canadian environmental scientist David Keith wants to change the world's climate by creating a type of sun filter in the sky to halt global warming. In an interview, he argues the technology is effective and inexpensive, but critics liken it to a nuclear bomb. While delegates meeting in Warsaw at the United Nations climate talks push for targets for reducing greenhouse gases, a small splinter group of scientists is promoting an entirely different approach to fighting climate change: They want to artficially manipulate the planet's climate to help stop global warming..."
Image credit above: ESA. "The 1991 explosion of the Mount Pinatubo volcano in the Philippines. "Aerosoles in the stratosphere reduce the rate of climate change," says David Keith."
Unavoidable Answer For The Problem Of Climate Change. Here's a clip from a story at The New York Times: "...It brings into sharp focus the most urgent challenge: How will the world replace fossil fuels? Can it be done fast enough, cheaply enough and on a sufficient scale without nuclear energy? For all the optimism about the prospects of wind, sun and tides to power our future, the evidence suggests the answer is no. Scrambling to find an alternative fuel to generate some 30 percent of its power, Japan had no choice but to turn to coal and gas..."
Globe's Unbroken Warm Streak Approaches 29 Years. Details from Climate Central; here's the introduction to the article: "The globe’s unbroken hot streak is inching closer to 29 years, with new data showing that October was the 344th consecutive month with global average surface temperatures above the 20th century average. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released on Monday, the global average surface temperature for the month of October was 1.13°F above the 20th century average (1961-1990) for the month. That’s enough to make this the seventh-warmest October on record in what is also likely to be the seventh-warmest year on record, according to a recent report from the World Meteorological Organization. The last time the globe had a cooler-than-average month was February 1985, and the last cooler-than-average October occurred in 1976, shortly before Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford in that year's presidential election..."
Graphic credit above: "Global temperature departures from average for October 2013, which was the seventh-warmest October on record." Credit: NOAA.
Coal Seen As New Tobacco Sparking Investor Backlash: Commodities. Bloomberg has the story; here's an excerpt: "About $8 trillion of known coal reserves lie beneath the earth’s surface. The companies planning to mine and burn them are being targeted by a growing group of investors concerned with the greenhouse gases that will be made. Storebrand ASA (STB), which manages $74 billion of assets from Norway, sold out of 24 coal and oil-sands companies since July including Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU), the largest U.S. coal producer, citing a desire to cut fossil-fuel industry holdings. This month Norway’s opposition Labour Party proposed banning the country’s $800 billion sovereign wealth fund from coal investments..."
Photo credit above: "Coal, whose burning spews about twice the greenhouse gases as natural gas, is not in retreat. In 2011, coal was used to generate 30.3 percent of the world’s primary energy, the highest level since 1969, according to the World Coal Association, an industry trade group. That share slipped only to 29.9 percent last year." Photographer: Dadang Tri/Bloomberg.
Oxygen Nation: Whatever Your Politics, Embrace Your Inner Tree Hugger. It turns out we're all tree huggers, according to Minnesota native Craig Bowron. Here's an excerpt of a his recent essay at Huffington Post: "...This kind of branding trivializes the battle over climate change as an alarmist ploy from the "greenies," who care more about spotted owls and rare Amazonian frogs than they do their fellow humans. It gives the appearance that the struggle isn't about the science or its implications, but only about a way of life. It's the Audubon Society against the NFL. You stare at your birds, I'll stare at my flat-screen TV. Rather conveniently, this cognitive severing of the intimate link between ourselves and the rest of the Earth allows us to take what we think we need, whatever the cost, the way condemning natives as godless savages greased the wheels of Colonialism..." (photo credit: Wikipedia Commons).
The 10 Dumbest Things Climate Deniers Say. MarketWatch has the Op-Ed; here's an excerpt: "...Here’s a paraphrased summary of Diamond’s classic rhetorical one-liners with links to some of our relevant commentaries:
This is Big Oil’s favorite argument. In fact, the only “jobs and economy” the oil industry cares about are their own hundreds of thousands of jobs, over $100 billion in annual profits and trillions in revenues the last decade. Diamond warns: environmental solutions are not a “luxury” with just a cash outflow. “This one-liner puts the truth exactly backwards. ... Environmental messes cost us huge sums of money both in the short run and in the long run” and “cleaning up or preventing those messes saves us huge sums in the long run, and often in the short run as well...”
David Suzuki: Energy Choices Risk Climate Chaos For Atlantic Canada. Here's a clip from a story at Vancouver's straight.com: "...For his captivating documentary, Climate Change in Atlantic Canada, Ian Mauro, an environmental and social scientist at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, interviewed farmers, fishers, local residents, First Nations community members, scientists and business people from all around the Atlantic provinces. All say climate change is affecting their communities and livelihoods. They also agree something must be done and that the “business as usual” scenario is no longer an option. The heart of the problem is our seemingly unquenchable thirst for mainly fossil-fuel based energy resources. As our desire for comfort and efficiency grows, so does our energy consumption, prompting the search for sources increasingly difficult to extract..."
The Actual Probability Of Earth Going To Hell In The Next Few Decades. Gizmodo takes a look, with the aid of cutting-edge model visualizations, in this story - here's an excerpt: "...We wanted to find a way of communicating climate risks in a way that showed exactly what climate scientists meant when they say likely or unlikely," co-producer Owen Gaffney told Sploid, "while the terminology can sound a little vague, it is more precise than most people realize." The visualization—funded by the UN Foundation for the launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and made by our friend Felix Pharand Deschenes—is based on 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change data. It ties the IPCC findings with the effects of the Anthropocene, the new geological era that refers to the effect of humans on Earth ecosystems, including the transformation of terrain and life all around us..."
Africa's Green Shoots. Africa is bearing a disproportional amount of the impact of a warming climate, as reported in this article at BusinessDay; here's a snippet: "...If a sign of things to come were needed, one would do well to look at Africa, which is already highly vulnerable to climate variability. Further volatility could be ruinous. Two-thirds of the continent is desert or drylands, and three-quarters of its agricultural drylands are significantly degraded. The Sahara Desert is expanding: Lake Chad, for example, is now one-tenth of its size a half-century ago. The worst conditions are in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel, where drought and famine have left more than one million children at risk of severe malnutrition. Africa emits a mere 4 percent of the world’s CO2, but it suffers most from its ill effects. That said, Africans bear some of the blame, too: for example, four million hectares of African forest disappear annually – twice the global rate of deforestation..."
"...123 million Americans, more than a third of the entire country, live in coastal counties, a number that increased by 39% from 1970 to 2010. About 3.7 million Americans live within just a few feet of the sea at high tide, putting them at even more extreme risk for coastal flooding..." - from a Time Magazine retrospective of Sandy, details below. Map above showing Sandy storm surge flooding vs. Cat 4 storm surge potential flooding courtesy of the Capital Weather Gang - details below.
650,000 U.S. homes damaged or destroyed by Sandy. Source: NBC News.
"...The results highlight four main factors that control storm surge: The shape of a coastline, the depth of coastal water, and the wind speed and storm size prior to landfall, specifically, about 18 hours before a storm hits land... - from a Live Science story below focused on why the Saffir Simpson Scale for rating hurricane intensity can't be relied upon for estimating storm surge heights.
Image credit above: CIMSS/SSEC/University of Wisconsin-Madison and NOAA/NASA/JPSS Project.
A Year After Sandy, Living Dangerously By The Sea. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. At some point, as seas continue to rise, rebuilding next to the ocean won't make much sense - it will become prohibitively expensive, and U.S. taxpayers won't keep picking up the tab. Time Magazine has the article and video clip; here's an excerpt: "...Here’s a fact about Sandy that might surprise you: when the storm made landfall in New Jersey on Oct. 29, it wasn’t actually a hurricane. Its wind speed had fallen below the 74 m.p.h. sustained velocity that’s needed to change a tropical storm into a hurricane. Instead Sandy was officially a “post-tropical cyclone.” And while the storm certainly dropped a lot of water on the belt of heavily affected states between South Carolina and New York — 7 in. or more in many places — it wasn’t the precipitation alone that led to the devastating floods that followed in its wake, causing more than $68 billion in damages. What made Sandy devastating was its size, covering more than 1,000 miles, the coastal storm surges it caused, and the way the force of the cyclone — which took an unusual path almost directly at the East Coast — pushed the sea and rivers up and over onto land, spilling out into streets and inundating nearby infrastructure..."
Turning Hurricane Sandy's Scars Into Badges Of Survival. Showing off waterlines from Sandy's storm surge has become something of a status symbol with some residents of New York and New Jersey, as described in The New York Times: "It was a foul, filthy thing that marred the aesthetics, something to scrub off or paint over, something to just get rid of. It stood for what once was: a sour reminder of the thundering water, unimaginable wreckage and exponential wounds. No one would want it anymore, would they? engagingly pointed out the jagged white line that ran the length of the brick wall inside his wine shop, Pasanella & Son Vintners, in the South Street Seaport. It was about six feet above the floor. It was going to stay right there. The waterline from Hurricane Sandy..."
Photo credit above: "Marco Pasanella, owner of Pasanella & Son Vintners in the South Street Seaport, stood in front of the interior brick wall, which still has a waterline." Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times.
Sandy Was Our Social Storm, But At What Cost? Uploading all those Instagram photos of flooding seemed like a good idea at the time, until the power failed, there was no way to charge your iPhone, and now you couldn't reach your loved ones. Mashable has an interesting story about Sandy and social media; here's a clip: "..."A lot of the messaging when we announced the feature was to encouraging folks to take photos, but more importantly to take photos safely," said Shayne Adamski, director of digital communications for FEMA. "We did not want folks to put themselves in harm's way just to get a photo." Adamski added that taking and attempting to upload photos or video may not be a productive use of battery life during situations where a person may be without power for days at a time. He said priority No. 1 in these situations should be notifying friends and family members of your status so those people do not have to call emergency managers to find out about you..."
Photo credit above: "This combination of Oct. 29, 2012 and Oct. 20, 2013 photos shows sea water flooding the entrance to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel in New York as Superstorm Sandy struck the city, and traffic entering nearly a year later." (AP Photo/John Minchillo).
Hurricane Sandy Anniversary: Dealing With The Psychological Scars One Year Later. Psychologists talk about a weather-version of PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the same thing tornado and flood victims also cope with post-storm. Here's a clip from a story at Fox News: "...Coming up on an anniversary of something like a traumatic event can ramp things up and people can feel highly anxious and depressed,” Dr. Rachel Yehuda, director of the traumatic stress studies division at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, told FoxNews.com. “It’s a time where there is a natural spike in symptoms, especially on a first year anniversary.” According to Yehuda, some people who have experienced storm-related trauma, such as the loss of a loved one or the loss of a home, can undergo what is known as an “anniversary reaction.” Every year on the date of the traumatic event, people may suffer from a resurgence of depressive symptoms and painful memories. These symptoms can range from mild feelings of distress to significant psychiatric and medical effects..."
Photo credit: "Residents look over the remains of burned homes in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, 2012. Hurricane Sandy battered the U.S. East Coast last year with fierce winds and driving rain, as the monster storm shut down transportation, shuttered businesses and left hundreds of thousands without power." (REUTERS/Keith Bedford).
Reinsurer Tracks Natural Disasters, Tallies Devastating Effects. Here's a clip from The Hartford Courant: "...The total cost of weather-related disasters in North America to insurance companies, and to the economy overall, has trended upward between 1980 and 2011, Munich Re says. In 2012, Sandy alone cost insurers $18.7 billion — more than the total cost of all hail, thunderstorms and tornadoes combined during the active 2011 storm season that destroyed property from Springfield, Mass., to Joplin, Mo., according to the Insurance Information Institute, a property-casualty research entity..."
Sandy Exposes Federal Flood Insurance To Political Pressure. Premiums are spiking near the water, local homeowners are howling, and now their elected representatives are feeling the heat, as reported at The Street; here's an excerpt: "Although health insurance gets the headlines, it's flood insurance that's driving people crazy, one year after Superstorm Sandy. The people who want to rebuild face low payouts from the federal insurance pool and huge premium hikes to replenish the same pool. All this could delay the rebuilding process by years. The risks of floods, and the catastrophic losses from floods, have long forced beachfront property into a special, federal risk pool, the National Flood Insurance Program..."
Photo credit: Mike Groll, AP.
4 Reasons You Should Worry About Another Sandy. Mother Jones has the story - here's a clip: "...According to NASA researchers, Sandy's particular track made it a 1-in-700 year storm event. It was, to put it mildly, meteorologically suspicious. So now, with a year's distance and a lot of thought and debate, what can we say about climate change and Sandy—and hurricanes in general? A lot, as it turns out. Here's what we know:
1. Sea level rise is making hurricanes more damaging—and Sandy is just the beginning. The most direct and undeniable way that global warming worsened Sandy is through sea level rise. According to climate researcher Ben Strauss of Climate Central, sea level in New York harbor is 15 inches higher today than it was in 1880, and of those 15 inches, eight are due to global warming's influence (the melting of land-based ice, and the thermal expansion of seawater as it warms). And that matters: For every inch of sea level rise, an estimated 6,000 additional people were impacted by Sandy who wouldn't have been otherwise..."
Photo credit above: "" .
Flash Floods And Debris Flows: How To Manage Nature's Runaway Freight Trains. Here's an excerpt of an interesting follow-up on recent fires and flash floods in Colorado, courtesy of Science Daily: "...One of the big science advances has been in the U.S. Geological Survey's debris flow models. These models have helped explain, for instance, where these potentially deadly flows are most likely to happen and how large they might be. "We've learned that debris flows are likely from burned area for the first two years after a wildfire." says DeGraff. "But the chance of flash floods lasts a little longer." This kind of information helps determine what kinds of treatments might be done to mitigate damage..."
Photo credit above: "Private homes along Apple Creek narrowly avoided the Mountain Fire which occurred July 2013 in the San Jacinto Mountains between Palm Springs and Idyllwild, California. USGS modeling in the wake of the fire has indicated a moderate chance of a debris flow flowing down Apple Creek." (Credit: Photo courtesy of the USDA Forest Service.)
Blizzard At The Superbowl? Businesses Seek Insurance. What are the odds? Slim, statistically, but Old Man Winter does have a wicked sense of humor. At this point nothing would surprise me. CNBC has the story; here's the intro: "Super Bowl 2014 at New Jersey's Meadowlands is expected to bring the Northeast $1.5 billion in revenue, but some businesses are already worrying about the weather, The Star-Ledger reported Tuesday. After the Farmers' Almanac said a bitter storm could hit the Northeast around the time of the big game on Feb. 2, business owners began to look for insurance. "It's an insurance most business owners probably don't have now and might not be thinking about," said Lori Shaw, executive director of the entertainment practice at Aon Risk Solutions..."
Air Pollution Sickening Computers Too. Just when you thought you had seen everything, along comes this story from AP and The Seattle Times; here's an excerpt: "In a windowless lab at its Hillsboro campus, Intel scientists are brewing foul air so they can study the effects of air pollution on the innards of computers — a step toward figuring out how to protect electronics in markets such as India and China that have big pollution problems and the potential for big sales growth. So far, the scientists tell The Oregonian newspaper, there have been no breakthroughs as they load test tubes of pressurized hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and chlorine, and calibrate their effects on electronics..."
Riding "The Big One". Good grief, a 77 foot wave? The stuff of watery nightmares. This was off the coast of Portugal, a possible new world record for surfing the biggest wave. Some witnesses estimated that it was more than 100 feet high. Here's a post (and amazing video clip) from Surfer Today: "The Brazilian crew traveled to Portugal with a goal in mind. To beat the Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever surfed, which belongs to the Hawaiian hellman, Garrett McNamara. Carlos Burle, Pedro Scooby, Felipe Cesarano, and Maya Gabeira had big hopes for the European super swell. On the 28th October, 2013, Burle claimed one of the biggest wave ever ridden at Praia do Norte. The first pictures show that he may be above the world record set by Garrett McNamara, at 23.77 m (78 feet), measured from trough to crest, on the 1st November 2011..."
What Happened To Just Watching Sesame Street? From Marketplace: "A new study from the group Common Sense Media found that 38 percent of children under two have used a mobile device, like an iPhone or tablet computer. That’s up from 10 percent just two years ago. The earliest of adopters"
42 F. high in the Twin Cities Tuesday.
52 F. average high on October 29.
45 F. high on October 29, 2012.
Trace of rain fell yesterday at MSP up until 7 PM.
5.5" snow fell at MSP on October 29, 1905
October 29 Weather History for Minnesota:
1951: A early snow storm dropped as much as 8 inches of snowfall in north central Minnesota. Mora had 8 inches, while Long Prairie received 6 inches. Glenwood, Little Falls, Morris, and New London all had 5 inches of new snow. Meanwhile, surrounding areas received a couple of inches.
1936: Gale dust storm causes damage in Central Minnesota. Heavy wind damage is reported in Stearns County.
TONIGHT: Dense fog advisory. Thick fog with light rain and drizzle. Low: 45
HALLOWEEN: Light showers taper early. Dry, damp evening for Trick or Treating. High: near 50
FRIDAY: More clouds than sun, cooler. Wake-up: 40. High: 46
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, less wind. Wake-up: 31. High: 46
SUNDAY: Dim sun, milder. Gusty winds. Wake-up: 30. High: 50
MONDAY: Clouds increase with late showers, not bad for November. Wake-up: 40. High: 49
TUESDAY: A cold rain spreads in. Wake-up: 36. High: 44
U.S. Says It Won't Back New, International Coal-Fired Power Plants. The number one thing we can do, worldwide, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Phase out coal-fired power plants, convert them to natural gas or retire them altogether. Sequestering CO2 underground (carbon sequestration) hasn't been proven to be even remotely cost-effective. And no, this probably won't happen anytime soon, but the market is doing what regulation can't - relatively cheap natural gas is powering an increasing percentage of the grid, producing roughly half the carbon emissions. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "In an aggressive move to impose President Obama’s environmental policies overseas, the Treasury Department on Tuesday largely declared an end to United States support for new coal-fired power plants around the world. The decision means that Mr. Obama’s administration will no longer contribute to coal projects financed by the World Bank and other international development banks..." (Photo: AP File).
Storm-Ready Cities: How Climate Resilience Boosts Metro Areas And The Economy. The Center for American Progress has the article; here's a clip: "...Many city leaders—such as those in New York City, Washington, D.C., Houston, and Miami— are developing innovative strategies to reduce the risks from extreme weather. These leaders recognize that increasing their cities’ resilience to climate change not only keeps people and businesses out of harm’s way, but also—if done right—drives economic growth and improves the quality of life in metro areas. These leaders are working to meet priorities such as upgrading public transit and other infrastructure, providing cleaner and more reliable energy, creating jobs, attracting new businesses, improving air quality, and expanding parks and green spaces. To adequately prepare our nation for the impacts of climate change, more metro areas must follow their lead..."
U.S. Viewpoint: Earth Dangerously Warming - And We Are Causing It. Here's an excerpt from an article at Independent Catholic News: "...“Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes. … It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century” states the IPCC report. In his 2010 World Day of Peace message titled 'If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation,' Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI boldly wrote: “Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions?” We remain indifferent at our own risk – and that of future generations." (image above: NASA).
Monday Record Highs:
97: Twin Cities (old record 94 in 1948)
95 St. Cloud (old record 93 in 2003)
94 Alexandria (old record 93 in 1976)
Late Summer Sizzle - Real Relief By Labor Day
I'm thinking of flying to Palm Springs to cool off - and torture my golf clubs. It was 15F degrees cooler in the deserts of southern California than it was in Minnesota yesterday. Two record highs in a row, but slight relief is likely by Thursday (with a good chance of T-storms and some badly needed rain).
ECMWF "Euro" guidance is hinting at a push of much cooler air coming sooner than expected; a big drop in temperature/dew point by Sunday and Labor Day.
And now comes word that the 2014 Farmer's Almanac is predicting a very cold winter for much of the USA - and an ominous prediction for the February Superbowl at New Jersey's (outdoor) Meadowlands stadium. What can possibly go wrong? I have my bootleg copy, but don't bet the farm based on a 6-9 month weather prediction. If anything we may be limping into a mild El Nino, which could temper the coldest winds of winter.
T-storms may pop up north again today - southern Minnesota stuck under a heat dome with more mid/upper 90s.
I'm having a deja vu moment: it's drying out nearly as fast as 2012. Let's not whine about rain anytime soon. The best chance: Thursday and late Saturday.
A welcome taste of autumn arrives next week.
Latest 80-degree Low Temperature On Record In The Twin Cities: Details from the Twin Cities NWS:
THE LOWEST TEMPERATURE (MONDAY) HAS BEEN 80 DEGREES IN THE TWIN CITIES.
THIS TIES THE WARMEST LOW TEMPERATURE FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST.
THIS IS THE LATEST 80 DEGREE LOW TEMPERATURE IN THE TWIN CITIES.
THE OTHER AUGUST 80 DEGREE LOW TEMPERATURES FOLLOW...
AUGUST 2 1955...80 DEGREE LOW.
AUGUST 6 2001...80 DEGREE LOW.
AUGUST 10 1944...80 DEGREE LOW.
AUGUST 22 1968...80 DEGREE LOW.
AUGUST 25 2013...80 DEGREE LOW...YESTERDAY
AUGUST 26 2013...80 DEGREE LOW...ALSO LATEST 80 DEGREE LOW EVER.
Relief 5 Days Away? The ECMWF model (courtesy of Weatherspark) shows muggy conditions into Friday, a cool frontal passage pumping drier, Canadian air into Minnesota Sunday and Monday as dew points drop into the 40s. If the "Euro" is to be believed highs may hold in the 70s by Labor Day.
Drought, Frost Among Farmers' Crop Concerns. The Gazette has the story - here's an excerpt: "The expanding drought has taken precedence of the "F" word, frost, as the leading threat to Iowa farmers' crops. "Farmers are talking about both drought and frost. An early frost absolutely matters in a year of late crop development, but it feels farther away when the weather turns hot." Bill Northey, secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, said Thursday. "Heat will be the big difference maker now," said Brian Fuchs, one of the authors of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which in its latest report Thursday showed dry soils expanding in Iowa..."
* latest U.S. Drought Monitor for the Upper Midwest here.
5-Day Rainfall. It's amazing how fast Minnesota is drying out now - corn and bean fields under obvious stress. Just like August of 2012 rainfall has (almost instantly) become spotty and sparse, more rain for northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, but precious little rain for farms in central and southern portions of both states. We need rain (badly). NOAA HPC hints at some 2"+ amounts over northern Minnesota, but very little rain over far southwest Minnesota into Sunday.
"Ridge Riders". More T-storms will flare up along the northern boundary of a very slow moving heat bubble over the Upper Midwest, the best chance of some badly needed rain Thursday. Cooler air is building over Canada, relief that will finally sweep across the northern tier of the USA early next week. 84 hour NAM loop: NOAA.
The expanding drought has taken precedence over the “F” word, frost, as the leading threat to Iowa farmers’ crops.
“Farmers are talking about both drought and frost. An early frost absolutely matters in a year of late crop development, but it feels farther away when the weather turns hot,” Bill Northey, secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, said Thursday.
“Heat will be the big difference maker now,” said Brian Fuchs, one of the authors of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which in its latest report Thursday showed dry soils expanding in Iowa.- See more at: http://thegazette.com/2013/08/25/drought-frost-among-iowa-farmers-crop-concerns/#sthash.R2qGG5pS.dpuf
The expanding drought has taken precedence over the “F” word, frost, as the leading threat to Iowa farmers’ crops.
“Farmers are talking about both drought and frost. An early frost absolutely matters in a year of late crop development, but it feels farther away when the weather turns hot,” Bill Northey, secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, said Thursday.
“Heat will be the big difference maker now,” said Brian Fuchs, one of the authors of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which in its latest report Thursday showed dry soils expanding in Iowa.- See more at: http://thegazette.com/2013/08/25/drought-frost-among-iowa-farmers-crop-concerns/#sthash.R2qGG5pS.dpuf
Yosemite Wildfire Grows, Fueling Dangerous Winds. Here's an excerpt of an update from Reuters: "A colossal wildfire raging on the edge of Yosemite National Park has produced dangerous weather patterns by fueling thunderous pyrocumulus clouds that can alter the wind direction rapidly, potentially trapping firefighters, forest officials said on Sunday. The so-called Rim Fire grew to 134,000 acres by early Sunday morning, up 9,000 acres from the day before, with smoke columns rising more than 30,000 feet, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Dick Fleishman. "That's a real watch-out situation for our firefighters when they see that kind of activity, they know that the wind could actually move that fire right back on them," Fleishman said. "That's been happening every afternoon..."
Photo credit above: "A sign on the edge of Yosemite National Park, California, is surrounded by a burn from the Rim Fire, August 23, 2013." REUTERS/Max Whittaker.
Wildfire Threatens San Francisco Power Grid. The flames have threatened water supplies, reservoirs and hydroelectric generators that provide electricity for San Francisco - here's an excerpt from Voice of America: "A massive wildfire in northern California has swallowed up the western edge of Yosemite National Park and is threatening the city of San Francisco's water and power supplies. More than 2,600 firefighters are battling the blaze, which is burning across about 52,000 hectares and threatens 5,500 homes. Some towns have issued voluntary evacuations. The governor of California called a state of emergency Friday for the city of San Francisco, which is about 240 kilometers away from the raging inferno. Two hydroelectric plants in the area were shut down due to the fire..."
Photo credit above: "Firefighters battle a blaze at Yosemite National Park, California, August 24, 2013." Reuters.
Giant Wildfire Chars 15,000 Acres Within Yosemite National Park, May Grown In "Extreme" Way. Here's more information on the near-record blaze for California from NBC News: "...NBC Bay Area reported that the Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp had been destroyed by flames. It said staff and campers were evacuated beforehand and no injuries were reported. The camp dates to 1922. NBC Los Angeles noted that the incident was closing in on the record-breaking 145,000-acre wildfire that burned over a three-week period in 1987. At close to 225 square miles, the blaze is more than four times the size of San Francisco. The fire was sparked last week in a remote canyon of the Stanislaus National Forest, with arid conditions feeding the flames. Statewide, more than 8,300 firefighters are battling nearly 400 square miles of fires..." (Image: NASA MODIS, University of Wisconsin).
Yosemite Fire From Space. Thanks to astronaut Karen Nyberg and Twitter for a different perspective on the Chicago-size blaze near Yosemite National Park.
Farmers Almanac Predicts A "Bitterly Cold" Winter. Stop the presses - we have the official forecast for the winter. It's understandable to be curious about the winter-to-come, but buyer beware. There's no scientific basis for this forecast, or if there is the Farmers Almanac has yet to release the methadology of their long-range predictions. Hey, I have a copy - there's great information in there, but I'm not convinced they (or anyone else) has cracked the riddle of a 6-9 month forecast. CBS News has the video and more details: "The Farmers' Almanac is using words like "piercing cold," "bitterly cold" and "biting cold" to describe the upcoming winter. And if its predictions are right, the first outdoor Super Bowl in years will be a messy "Storm Bowl." The 197-year-old publication that hits newsstands Monday predicts a winter storm will hit the Northeast around the time the Super Bowl is played at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands in New Jersey. It also predicts a colder-than-normal winter for two-thirds of the country and heavy snowfall in the Midwest, Great Lakes and New England. "We're using a very strong four-letter word to describe this winter, which is C-O-L-D. It's going to be very cold," said Sandi Duncan, managing editor. Based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles, the almanac's secret formula is largely unchanged since founder David Young published the first almanac in 1818..."
* Friend, colleague and meteorologist Jason Samenow has more on the Farmer's Almanac Outlook for winter and 2014, and a look back at how well they did last winter at The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang.
** "Note To CBS: This Is NOT News, It's Make Believe". Meteorologist Dan Satterfield has a sharp response to the desire to make this a big story. While you're at it, can you tell me how the NASDAQ will be doing next February?
More Horoscope Than Science?Hey, I like the Farmer's Almanac. It's like seeing an old (slightly crazy) friend every year. Truth: if you could accurately (consistently) predict weather 6-12 months in advance you'd have Romney money, or maybe even Elon Musk money. Billions. You'd be able to buy your own island in the Caribbean. Thanks in large part to chaos theory and the sheer complexity of the atmosphere, predicting precipitation or temperature beyond 15-20 days is voodoo. It's equivalent to predicting what the price of Apple stock will be on February 3, 2014. Good luck. There's no skill. Zero. Sometimes an evolving La Nina or El Nino pattern can tilt the odds in a certain direction and we can issue trend forecasts "warmer in the east, drier in the west", but specificity beyond a couple of weeks is wishful thinking. And basing a long-range (weather) forecast on sunspots and other "factors"? They've never released the methadology behind these 6-12 month forecasts. Questionable at best. But as a source of interesting weather nuggets and curious prognistications the Farmers Almanac is a source of endless fascination. Disclaimer aside, the F.A. is predicting a cold, snowy winter east of the Rockies. Uh huh. Details in today's edition of Climate Matters: "WeatherNation TV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at the long-range weather prediction just issued by the Farmer's Almanac. It forecasts a major storm for the Northeast, just in time for the Superbowl (in the outdoor Meadowlands stadium in New Jersey). Also, how common are the most extreme heat waves going to be in coming years?"
If It's Too Smoggy For Your Tourist Photos, Hong Kong Has A Fake Blue-Sky Background. Well, here's one way to solve the horrifica air pollution problem gripping much of China, as explained at Grist: "Air quality at Hong Kong famously hovers somewhere between "technically breathable" and "mainly motor oil with the occasional oxygen bubble". That's bad for people's lungs, but more importantly, it's bad for their photos. Tourists didn't pay good money to go to Hong Kong and have their vacation Instagrams ruined by light-impervious smog. That's why the city has set up a backdrop showing a skyling against a clear, blue, entirely fake sky..."
Photo credit: Alex Hofford/CFP.
Incredible Technology: How To Forecast Severe Storms. There's some good information in this story at Live Science; here's an excerpt: "...Forecasting a storm is a lot like practicing medicine, said meteorologist Greg Carbin at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Okla. "You go to the doctor, you tell the doctor your symptoms and the doctor makes a diagnosis before he makes a prognosis," Carbin told LiveScience. "We need to diagnose the current state of the atmosphere as best we can before we can attempt to forecast." [Hurricanes from Above: See Nature's Biggest Storms]. The SPC is primarily concerned with forecasting thunderstorms and tornadoes in the continental United States..."
Image credit above: "NOAA's GOES-12 weather satellites captured this image of Hurricane Katrina at Category 5 strength on Aug. 28, 2005, at 11:45 a.m. EDT." Credit: NOAA.
97 F. record high Monday in the Twin Cities. Old record was 94 F. on August 26, 1948.
97 F. high reported at Appleton and Red Wing, Minnesota yesterday.
79 F. average high for August 26.
86 F. high on August 26, 2012.
+1 F. August temperatures are running 1 F. warmer than average, to date.
13% based on NWS Cooling Degree Days we've spent 13% more to cool our homes and businesses than average since June 1.
Hot Enough. Monday hights ranged from 78 at Grand Marais to 95 St. Cloud, 97 in the Twin Cities. Nearly half an inch of rain fell at Hibbing, almost 2.5" at Hayward, Wisconsin over the last 24 hours.
TODAY: Excessive Heat Warning. Free sauna with more hot sun. T-storms central and northern MN. Dew point: 71 Heat Index: 105. High: 96
TUESDAY NIGHT: Still warmer than average, not quite as sticky. Low: 74
WEDNESDAY: Slight dip in humidity, "cooler". Plenty of sun. Dew point: 65. High: 92
THURSDAY: Unsettled with scattered T-storms. Dew point: 69. Wake-up: 73. High: 88
FRIDAY: Intervals of sun, good lake day with lot's of sun. Wake-up: 71. High: 93
SATURDAY: Some sticky sun, passing T-storm. Wake-up: 73. High: near 90
SUNDAY: Sunny, cooler, less humid. DP: 60. Wake-up: 69. High: 86
LABOR DAY: Blue sky, September-like. DP: 52. Wake-up: 61 (50s in the suburbs). High: 76
”Science is what we do to keep from lying to ourselves” - Richard Feynman.
Cartoon credit: Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News.
"3 Sigma" Heat Waves To Increase In Coming Decades. Here's an excerpt from a recent paper which shows a doubling of (extreme) heat waves by 2020, a possible 4X increase by 2040. The frequency and intensity of future heat will depend on whether we can (globally) reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here's an excerpt: "...We show that the frequency of summer months with extreme heat (3-sigma) and unprecedented heat (5-sigma) will strongly increase under expected future global warming. Even strong mitigation (RCP2.6) cannot stop the increase in occurrence-frequency of 3-sigma heat by a factor four in the near-term. Also, 5-sigma events will emerge and become common in some tropical regions. Mitigation, however, can strongly reduce the expected number of heat extremes in the second half of the 21st century..."
Graphic credit above: "Percentage of global land area during boreal summers with monthly temperatures beyond different sigma-thresholds for historic (left) and 21st century (middle and right). The CMIP5 multi-model mean (thick colored lines) accurately reproduces the observed increase in 1, 2 and 3-sigma extremes in the GISS temperature data (solid black lines). Future projections are given for 3-sigma (middle) and 5-sigma (right) for scenarios RCP2.6 and RCP8.5."
Environmental Campaign Suggests Naming Vicious Storms After Climate Change Deniers. Adweek has the story; here's an excerpt: "New York ad agency Barton F. Graf 9000 has turned its roguish attention to the issue of climate change, and helped activist group 350 Action with the amusing video below. According to the YouTube description: "Since 1954, the World Meteorological Organization has been naming extreme storms after people. But we propose a new naming system. One that names extreme storms caused by climate change, after the policy makers who deny climate change and obstruct climate policy. If you agree, sign the petition at climatenamechange.org." The snarky tone preaches to the choir, but it's hard to resist lines like, "If you value your life, please seek shelter from Michele Bachmann..."
Monarch Butterfly Habitat In Mexico Forests At 20 Year Low. EarthSky.org has the story - here's the introduction: "The concern about the disappearance of monarch butterflies has intensified. In the northern spring of 2013, conservation organizations reported that the amount of Mexican forest the butterflies occupied was at its lowest in 20 years. The World Wildlife Fund, in partnership with a Mexican wireless company and Mexico’s National Commission of Protected Areas, found nine hibernating colonies occupied almost 3 acres during the 2012-13 winter, a 59% decrease from the previous winter. Illegal logging in the Mexican forests, where the butterflies spend the winter, is being blamed for the shrinking acreage. Climate change is also thought to contributing to the butterfly population crash; it is causing the disappearance of milkweed, the only plant on which monarchs lay their eggs and on which their caterpillars feed..."
Siege Mentality. Experts Pan IPCC's Climate Report Strategy. Should there be more transparency, online and otherwise. Germany's Der Spiegel takes a look - here's an excerpt: "...But Beck adds that while the IPCC's "siege mentality" is intended to protect certain scientists from attacks by the industrial lobby, the it ultimately makes the organization itself more vulnerable. Renowned British climatologist Mike Hulme says this approach sows mistrust. The generation of the IPCC report should be organized in a more transparent fashion, says the InterAcademic Council (IAC), which the UN commissioned to review the IPCC's work. Now the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) is calling for the IPCC report to be published online so that it can be updated at any time. The current process disregards studies completed after a certain date, which means that UN climate data isn't up to date by the time its report is published, the institute says..."
Photo credit above: Corbis. "Lightning over an unnamed city. Climate change is a divisive issue, and experts are urging the IPCC to handle its information strategy differently."
Willfull Blindness. Here's a compelling TED video clip and explanation from (Republican) climate scientist Barry Bickmore: "...Now, I don’t have to tell my readers how I think this story relates to being a Republican Earth scientist who takes climate change seriously. But watch the video and pay attention to how Heffernan describes the excuses people make for remaining willfully blind. See if you don’t find eerie similarities with the excuses you hear coming from the “Do-Nothing-About-Climate” crowd..."
On Climate Change, Think For Yourself. Here's an excerpt from an Op-Ed at The Bangor Daily News: "...With the future looming, Americans are divided about whether climate change is a reality or is a hoax perpetuated by the liberal elites. Virtually the entire community of climate scientists is in agreement about the facts. Why then the continuing doubt of so many people? The fossil fuels industry and all those whose livelihood depends upon the fate of fossil fuels have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. They are the conservatives, whether Democrat, Republican or whatever. Pollution is, as Al Gore has named it, an “inconvenient truth” for them, and they deny its existence. Those conservatives are mainly the rich and powerful. They will squeeze the last drop of fossil fuels out of the earth as if their lives depended upon it, as indeed it does..."
14 U.S. Cities That Could Disappear Over The Next Century, Thanks To Global Warming. Miami is still at the top of the list, much of South Florida 3-6 feet above mean sea level. Superimpose rising seas and occasional storm surges from hurricanes and other major storms and you have a growing problem, as reported at Huffington Post: "There is really no way around it: Thanks to climate change, sea levels are rising. A huge question on the minds of many is, what does this mean for America? Will sea walls and city planning protect major metropolises, or are we bound to lose some national gems? Unfortunately, the latter is a significant possibility. Read on for 14 U.S. cities that could be devastated over the next century due to rising tides..." (Photo: Andrew Demp, Yale).
Barge Operators Struggle Along The Mississippi. New contracts that hedge risk for barge operators facing extremely severe weather, whiplash back and forth from flood to drought? Here's a clip from The Wall Street Journal: "...For the first time, privately held Canal Barge Co., which transports liquid cargoes like machine lubricants up the river from refineries in the South, has started to add "disruption clauses" to its contracts with shippers. The new clauses require customers to cover the cost of delays or other losses caused by high or low water, says Merritt Lane, president and chief executive. "I'm certainly concerned about the increasingly unpredictable weather patterns," says Mr. Lane. He says Canal Barge's profits fell sharply last year because of the drought. The low water halted river traffic in some places, held up grain shipments and reduced the loads that barges could carry..."
Photo credit above: "The Mississippi River overflowing this spring near LaGrange, Mo." Associated Press.
Oh to be normal again
By Todd Nelson
Put a weather geek in front of a computer screen and you'll get anything but normal. I'm surprised that my wife still puts up with my nerdy antics, even she's getting a little sick of me talking about how cold and snowy it has been this March.
Welcome to the Super bowl of weather. Other than hurricanes, we get it all in the Midwest. From cold snaps and blizzards to heat waves and tornadoes. Over the course of a year, it can get pretty wild around here; last year, we went from a tornado in the Twin Cities on November 10th to snow the next day!
The last winter storm that sailed south of us brought record snow to St. Louis, MO on Sunday (2nd greatest 24-hour snowfall on record with 12.4"); Springfield also had its snowiest day in recorded history with 19" on Sunday.
The heavy snow along the Hwy I-70 over the last few days was a response to the jet stream being well to our south, helping to keep that cold air in place over us. Slowly, that colder air will retreat back north allowing slightly warmer air to bubble north along with it. Temps may actually get back to normal by the weekend! 50s may be possible for some in S. MN! Oh, to be normal again.
Todd's StarTribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota
MONDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy. Low: 21. Winds: NNW 5-10
TUESDAY: Partly sunny, nagging chill. High: 34. Winds: NW 5.
TUESDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, nothing rough. Low: 18.
WEDNESDAY: Plenty of sun. More drips. Midday sunburn in 45mins. High: 37
THURSDAY: Blue sky, still quiet. Wake-up: 21. High: near 40
FRIDAY: Fading sun, happy to see 40s. Wake-up: 26. High: 46
SATURDAY: Clouds increase, feels like March again. Brief rain shower possible. Wake-up: 32. High: 46
SUNDAY: Easter sprinkle or flurry early. Wake-up: 31. High: 45.
MONDAY: No Arctic plunges. Wake-up. 30. High: 45.
Can you believe that we're wrapping up the month of March and we're still seeing more winter like weather? Good grief, when will it be over? Thanks to Ruby for the pictures below out of Pittsylvania county, VA where daffodils are in bloom and the bluebirds seems to be a bit confused just as much as Mother Nature does.
The image below shows the snowfall analysis over the last few days. Note the heavy snow swath along the Hwy I-70 corridor from Denver, CO to Washington D.C. -- The heaviest snow blobs appear to be over parts of Colorado and Central Illinois.
Happy Skiers and Snowboarders!
I think there are still several people that are happy about the recent cold and snowy weather and that includes skiers and snowboarders! I've heard of several locations across the nation that aren't as busy right snow! Check out your local ski resort to see if they're still open, good chance they are and they aren't that busy at all! Thanks to Breckenridge Ski Resort Facebook Page for the picture below.
Snow From Space
The National Weather Service out of Pueblo, CO posted the image below on their Facebook Page. It's a satellite view of the snow across eastern Colorado... Keep in mind that this view is from nearly 23,000miles high!
Colorado Snowfall Tallies
Here are some of the heaviest snowfall tallies that I could find from Colorado earlier this weekend.
Heavy Snow on Sunday...
Look at the wild totals on Sunday from Missouri to Illinois. How about that 12.4" remark from St. Louis, MO!
According to my good friend out of Kansas City, MO, they had more thundersnow over the weekend, which was the 3rd time this winter season! Crazy to think that 2 Friday's ago, they were in the 80s and over the weekend, they had some shoveling to do. Thanks to @persimmonsmith for the picture below out of Lee's Summit, MO, which is just southeast of Kansas City.
Thanks to@pitstickFarms for the interesting picture below out of South Central Illinois. It appears the snow was pretty sticky as it caked on the front of this vehicle!
Record Snow in St. Louis, MO
Not only was the 12.4" of snow on Sunday a record for March 24th, but it was also the 2nd largest single day snow from them (Record: 12.8" on 2/26/1906)
Record Snow in Springfield, MO
How about this stat; Springfield, MO had it's greatest 24-hour snowfall in recorded history! The previous record was 15" set 2/28/1900. Interestingly, other than 2 of the 10 top tallies all have occurred in either February or March!
Heavy Illinois Snow
Here are some of the top 5 Illinois snow tallies that I could find from the event.
Monday Morning Snow Burst
The same storm that plowed through the central part of the country over the weekend also brought snow to parts of the Northeast earlier Monday. Thanks to @dcairports for the picture below from the Dulles International Airport.
Snow Hole in D.C.?
Prior to Monday's snow, Washington D.C. had only seen 1.7" of snow this season and was nearly -13.5" below normal. Talk about a snow drought!
Cherry Blossom Festival
Keep in mind that the Cherry Blossom Festival is still in progress. According to the National Mall and Memorial Parks Facebook Page, the cold weather slows the blooms, but the snow does not.
The festival runs through April 14th and the peak is expected around April 3rd-6th. See more from the NationalCherryBlossomFestival.org HERE:
National Snow Cover
This looks like a scene more out of December or January, not mid to late March doesn't it?! According to NOAA's NOHRSC, nearly 50% of the nation was covered with snow on March 25th!
2012 Snow Cover
The snow cover one year ago looks quite a bit different. Thanks to a record setting March 2012, there was very little snow left across the nation last year.
Minnesota Snow Depth
There is still a lot of snow on the ground across parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan. The concern is still that all this snow will melt rapidly over the coming weeks and major flooding will be found along area rivers/stream/creeks. The National Weather Service is still suggesting that Fargo, N.D can expect a "Top 5" flood this Spring. There is also a greater than 95% chance that Major flooding will occur along the Red River Valley as it flows north toward Canada.
Seasonal Snow From Normal
The image below shows how much above or below normal snowfall we are from normal. After a very lackluster start to the winter season, many spots have caught up to near normal are are above normal snowfall for the season.
Sunday Severe Storms
Nasty storms rolled through parts of Florida on Sunday as well. There were a number of damage reports across the state including some around Bay Hill, FL where the Arnold Palmer Invitation Gold Tournament was taking place. The 4th round of the tournament was suspended until Monday...
Here's another damage picture thanks to @OrlandoInformer of damage at Universal Studios!
Low 2013 Tornado Count So Far...
2013, so far, has been fairly quiet in terms of tornadoes. According to the Storm Prediction Center, the 2013 tornado count was 146 tornadoes, while the running average at this time of the year is around 216.
Chilly March Temps
It's no surprise that temperatures have been cool this March. There are several locations in the eastern part of the country that are running below average. As of March 24th, the Twin Cities was running -6.5F below average. Temperatures on Tuesday are still expected to be cooler than average for those in the eastern half of the country.
Near Normal Temps?
It appears that temperatures by the weekend/Easter will be back close to normal for most locations across the country. How about that! Oh to be normal again...
It's always interesting to look at the Arctic Oscillation, which suggests whether or not the Lower 48 is colder/warmer than normal. Typically, when the AO is below the horizontal black line, we generally see colder/snowier than normal conditions. Look at how big the dip was in the negative phase just after March 16th, which would help to explain why we've been so cold lately. Note how the forecasts (red lines) show near neutral conditions by the star of April with perhaps a slight dip into the first few days... this would indicate that we'd see some slight warming, back to near normal temps, then a slight cool-down into the first few days of the month. We'll see what happens.
Thanks for checking in, have a great rest of your week!
Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV