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.

Arthur's Revenge? Record Chill Monday into Tuesday - Summer Returns Late Week

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Vikings Updated: July 12, 2014 - 11:38 PM

Arthur's Revenge?

Historically we are now entering the hottest week of the year. MSP average highs plateau at 84F between July 6-21. We SHOULD be in the 90s. I SHOULD be babbling about dew points, heat indices and hot weather safety tips.

Instead I'm checking the furnace, digging my favorite Twins sweatshirt out of cold storage and debating whether including Monday's forecast wind chill is a smart career move. Answer: probably not. A wind chill in July? That's a new one.

One theory that could have merit: Hurricane Arthur may have dislodged a chunk of unusually chilly air over James Bay as it howled into Canada's Maritimes last week. Much like powering up a snow blower in your attic throws debris into the family room, intense counterclockwise winds howling into eastern Canada disrupted an already fickle & unstable jet stream, now bulging southward with chilly implications.

We cool off today; tomorrow will feel like any other October 7; a wind chill in the 50s. I'm so sorry. Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game should be the chilliest on record. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Vikings or Gophers take the field.

Our weather has become a Meteorological Bizarro World.

What's next? I wish I knew.


500 mb Winds: Typical for Early October. Jet stream winds buckle, plunging record chill unusually far south into the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. While the western USA and Canada fries with highs well up into the 90s, even some 100s. Yes, this is unusual for mid-July, historically the warmest period of the entire year. 84-hour NAM 500 mb winds and vorticity: NOAA and HAMweather.


A New Level of Weather Extremes. Temperature anomalies Monday evening may be 20-24F cooler than average from the Twin Cities to Des Moines and Madison, while readings 30-35F warmer than average bak much of western Canada, sparking a rash of records. I can't remember (ever) seeing these kinds of extremes in July, at least going back to the early 70s. Map: Weather Bell.


Tuesday Morning: Furnace-Worthy. Where are those sweatshirts I stashed into cold storage back in early May? Get ready for a fleeting time warp, Tuesday wake-up temperatures ranging from mid 40s to low 50s. I wouldn't be shocked to hear of a few frost reports near Embarrass and Tower by Wednesday morning. Map: Weather Bell.


This Too Shall Pass. Extended weather data from the ECMWF model shows showers Monday with a chill factor (again, my apologies) dipping into the low and mid 50s. We'll set a record Monday for the coldest July 14 daytime high, dating back to 1871. Game time temperatures will be in the low to mid 60s for Tuesday evening's MLB All-Star Game, probably the coolest All-Star baseball game ever played. Dew point drop into the 40s, typical for late September and early October, before summer returns by the end of the week. Meteogram: Weatherspark.


Sandbags on 'Tonka. Saturday evening I noticed a number of homes still have sandbags on their shoreline, something I've never (ever) seen before. The water level has come down a bit, maybe an inch or two, but at the rate we're going no-wake restrictions may not come off Lake Minnetonka until late July or even early August.


Four Weather Events in History Mistaken For The Apocalypse. One of them, according to this interesting story at AccuWeather.com, was 1816, the "Year Without a Summer". Here's an excerpt: "...As the weeks continued, the icy winter spell would linger for the remainder of the summer, causing an immense burden on farmers across the country. "On July 4, water froze in cisterns and snow fell again, with Independence Day celebrants moving inside churches where hearth fires warmed things a mite," Virginia resident Pharaoh Chesney is quoted by the Smithsonian Magazine. "Thomas Jefferson, having retired to Monticello after completing his second term as President, had such a poor corn crop that year that he applied for a $1,000 loan," the article reported..."


NASA's TRMM Satellite Maps Tropical Storm Neoguri's Soggy Path Through Japan. Satellite-derived rainfall estimates - pretty cool, and surprisingly accurate. Here's an excerpt from Science Codex: "...Southern Japan received a soaking from Tropical Storm Neoguri on July 9 and 10 and data from the TRMM satellite was used to create a map that shows how much rain fell in Kyushu. Kyushu is the southwestern most and third largest island of Japan. The island is mountainous and is home to Mount Aso. Heavy rainfall from Neoguri fell on land that was already soaked in the past week from a slow moving frontal system..."

Image credit above: "This rainfall analysis using TRMM satellite data showed that rainfall totals of over 490 mm (19.3 inches) fell in western Kyushi over the period from July 3-10, 2014.The red line indicates Tropical Storm Neoguri's track." (Photo Credit: Text : Hal Pierce / Rob GutroImage : SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce).


So What Do You Know About Hurricanes? Metro Jacksonville has a terrific infographic with a few surprises: "Considering it's hurricane season, Metro Jacksonville shares a Global Data Vault infographic featuring data provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)."


NASA Spots a Super Typhoon. National Geographic has a post about "Neoguri", captured by the ISS, The International Space Station: "Watch out, Japan!" said European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst after taking this July 7 picture of Supertyphoon Neoguri from the International Space Station. The supertyphoon lashed Okinawa this week, and at the time the photo was taken, was producing 150-mile-an-hour (240-kilometer-an-hour) winds..."

Photograph by Alexander Gerst, ESA/NASA.


Upgraded HWRF and GFDL Hurricane Models Excelled During Hurricane Arthur. Weather Underground has a good summary of how NOAA's enhanced, recently upgraded high-resolution models just performed; here's an excerpt: "The landfall last week of Hurricane Arthur, the first named tropical system in the Atlantic for 2014, brought a quick start to this year’s hurricane season. Perhaps lost in the predictions and preparations for Arthur’s landfall was the fact that there have been major upgrades this year to the two operational National Weather Service (NWS) regional hurricane prediction systems, the GFDL and HWRF models. Here we will provide background on each of those models and highlight the forecast improvements achieved from recent upgrades to both models..."

Image credit above: "Inner core structure of Hurricane Katrina of 2005 simulated from the GFDL hurricane forecast model. Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) are denoted by the color shading, with the darker colors of blue showing the cooling of the SSTs due to the hurricane winds mixing the cooler waters from below to the surface."


Study Provides New Approach to Forecast Hurricane Intensity. Predicting hurricane intensity is much more challenging than forecasting track; here's an excerpt of a story focused on new research from The University of Miami: "New research from University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science suggests that physical conditions at the air-sea interface, where the ocean and atmosphere meet, is a key component to improve forecast models. The study offers a new method to aid in storm intensity prediction of hurricanes. “The general assumption has been that the large density difference between the ocean and atmosphere makes that interface too stable to effect storm intensity,” said Brian Haus, UM Rosenstiel School professor of ocean sciences and co-author of the study. “In this study we show that a type of instability may help explain rapid intensification of some tropical storms...”


Data and Analytics Try To Limit Hurricane Damage. Dell Computer has an interesting guest post about the power of analytics and models to get a better handle on which communities in Hurricane Alley are most vulnerable, and how much cash to set aside for a rainy (windy) day. Here's a clip: "...With every new hurricane that makes landfall in the U.S., advanced catastrophe modeling and analytics allow property-casualty carriers to more accurately price a homeowners insurance policy. Models also help insurance carriers calculate the amount of capital they need to set aside in reserve to pay claims and how many catastrophe insurance policies insurers can afford to reinsure. Catastrophe models help insurance companies plan ahead and serve as a tool that contributes to the industry allocating capital more efficiently, Larsen says..." (File image: EPA).


Graphic: Wildfires Raging in North America. Canada's National Post has a terrific infographic and explainer, pinpointing all the wildfires across North America. Smoke from the 100+ blazes burning in Canada's Northwest Territories has been sweeping southward into the USA in recent weeks. Here's a clip: "Hundreds of wildfires are raging in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec and the Northwest Territories while the U.S. is battling large blazes in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, California, Colorado, Florida, Washington state and New Mexico. Canada has already had more than 2,000 wildfires this year. And this week saw U.S. President Barack Obama ask Congress for $615-million to help fight the fires this season. So where are the hotspots in North America and how do those fires start and spread?"


What Is Causing The Kidney Stone Epidemic? Staying hydrated in the (increasing) heat is everything; here's an excerpt from io9.com: "Pediatric urologist Gregory Tasian and his team analyzed over 60,000 medical records of people with kidney stones in major cities throughout the U.S. What they found was that people were more likely to develop the painful calcium deposits (pictured above) in their kidneys when average temperatures rose over 50 degrees. In fact, many cases of kidney stones cropped up roughly three days after a hot day. Now that climate change means that some regions of the globe are heating up, it's likely that kidney stones will become even more common..."


Car Insurance Companies Want to Track Your Every Move - And You're Going to Let Them. If you want the lowest possible rate you give up a little more of your privacy (and soul) right? Here's the intro to a story at Quartz: "The proposition is simple: Install a device in your car and allow your insurance company to monitor your driving—how fast you drive, how hard you brake, how sharply you corner, and so on. In exchange, it will give you a discount on your premiums.  That might sound alarming, but it shouldn’t be surprising. Considering internet users already happily trade data on every online move they make in exchange for free services, the only surprise is tracking-based insurance isn’t already more widespread..."


Say It Isn't So - World's Largest Mall Slated for Dubai. It should be noted that Dubai already has 52 malls, each with it's own magazine. Because they do BIG THINGS in Dubai. Maybe our Mall of America can expand into MSP International to keep us in the hunt. Gizmag has more details: "...Dubai Holding hasn't revealed firm dates nor a budget for the project yet, but we do know some basic information. It comprises 743,224 sq m (8 million sq ft) of floorspace, which makes it easily the largest mall in the world, a shade larger than China's Forbidden City, and about four times the size of France's Louvre Palace..."


Every State in the USA, Ranked by it's Food/Drink. Minnesota ranked 23rd out of 50 states. Really? Here's an excerpt of a sure-to-be-controversial story at Thrillist: "...Surly’s was at the forefront of a damn fine brewing scene, but really this ranking is about the glorious innovation that is the Juicy Lucy. Any chump can melt cheese ON a burger, but it takes vision to put it INSIDE the burger. For such achievements you get a pass on that suspect-looking hot dish stuff..."


Amazon Asks FAA For Permission to Fly Drones. Some-day delivery within 30 minutes? Like a vending machine in the sky. The Associated Press has the story; here's a clip: "...In a letter to the FAA dated Wednesday, Amazon said it is developing aerial vehicles as part of Amazon Prime Air. The aircraft can travel over 50 miles per hour and carry loads of up to 5 pounds. About 86 percent of Amazon's deliveries are 5 pounds or less, the company said. "We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so," Amazon said in the letter..." (Image credit: amazon.com).


80 F. high in the Twin Cities yesterday.

84 F. average high on July 12.

90 F. high on July 12, 2013.

.06" rain fell at MSP International Airport Saturday.


Big Variations in Saturday Rainfall. Although only .06" fell at Richfield, St. Paul reported half an inch, with .81" at Eau Claire and .83" rain reported at Eden Prairie.

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

1933: Odd heat wave affects Grand Marais with a high of 90. Most of Minnesota was in the 100's.

1890: Tornado hits Lake Gervais north of St. Paul. People rushed from St. Paul to help victims and look for souvenirs. One reporter noted... "nearly everyone who returned from the disaster last evening came laden with momentoes (sic) denoting the cyclone's fury."


TODAY: Partly sunny, comfortable breeze. Dew point: 55. High: 75

SUNDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, chilly for mid-July. Low: 55

MONDAY: Record chill. Raw, windy & showery. High: 62 (record cold max temperature: 68F in 1884)

TUESDAY: Football weather with more clouds than sun. Take a sweatshirt for the All-Star Game. Wake-up: 52. High: 68

WEDNESDAY: Sunny. Less October. More September. Wake-up: 50. High: 73

THURSDAY: Sunny and milder, still comfortable. Dew point: 49. Wake-up: 58. High: 79

FRIDAY: Feels like July again. Warm sunshine. Wake-up: 61. High: 83

SATURDAY: Warm sun, nighttime T-storms. Wake-up: 66. High: 84


Climate Stories....

Adapting to Climate Change: Let Us Consider the Ways. Breaking news: we're already being forced to adapt to a warmer, more volatile climate. ScienceNews has the Op-Ed; here's an excerpt: "...The title of the report, “Climate Change Adaptation,” sounded familiar. That’s because it was very similar to the working title of this issue’s cover story. And although our article deals with the feathered and flowered worlds of plants, animals and other creatures — and not military infrastructure — biologists are similarly concerned with how natural populations might respond to the consequences of climate change. The feature “Quick change artists” tells an important story about some of the ways that vulnerable organisms might adapt to a changing world..." (Image: Shutterstock).


North Carolina's Outer Banks "Ban" Rising Seas. Many people in Europe think we've lost our minds on this side of the pond, at least when it comes to science. Here's a clip from a story at a radio station in the U.K. that caught my eye: "...An overwhelming majority of scientists predict sea levels will rise by at least a metre up and down the coast of the US by 2100.   One of them is Professor Orrin Pilkey, Professor Emeritus of Earth and Ocean Sciences, at Duke University in North Carolina. He says the people of the Outer Banks and their politicians are living in denial. It is impossible, he says, for politicians simply to legislate that a scientific prediction should be ignored. "All up and down the East Coast, Gulf Coast and West Coast it's all the same and still they stick their heads in the sands," he says..."


No Magic Bullet for Climate Change, Swiss Scientist Says. No silver bullet, but plenty of silver buckshot. The Boston Globe has the article; here's an excerpt: "...The lesson, says Lino Guzzella, president-elect of the renowned Swiss university known as ETH Zurich, is we cannot expect technological discoveries like those conceived by Einstein to save us from the pain of climate change. “We cannot sit and fold our hands waiting for a new technology. If we have to wait until the next Einstein comes, it won’t do,” says Guzzella. “The problems we are talking about need to be tackled with the existing tools we have...”


"But There's Been No Warming Since 1998!" Global surface temperatures have plateaued, but the oceans continue to warm, in fact more than 90% of all warming is going into the world's oceans. Here's an excerpt from The Union of Concerned Scientists: "...Focusing on relatively short time periods to claim global warming is not happening is a misleading way to use statistics. These false claims have become so persistent that late last year the Associated Press asked a team of independent statisticians to review global temperature data without revealing to them what the data represented.[5] All of the statisticians concluded that the data showed an unmistakable upward trend over time..."


In Las Vegas Climate Change Deniers Regroup, Vow to Keep Doubt Alive. Bloomberg Businessweek has the story; here's the introduction: "Earlier this week, the Heartland Institute convened its Ninth International Climate Change Conference in Las Vegas. A nonprofit, free-market think tank in Chicago with a $6 million annual budget, Heartland has been hosting conferences since 2008 for those dubious of the science confirming human-caused climate change. It is called the ICCC for short, the acronym an intentional echo of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international body that has published the most comprehensive studies of global warming..."

Image credit above: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times via Redux. "The Greener Horizon booth at the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change."

Polar Vortex - Summer Edition

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 12, 2014 - 8:54 AM

Son of Polar Vortex (Summer Edition)

Live long enough and you'll see (almost) everything. Since moving here in '83 I've experienced nearly 100 inches of snow in a single winter ('83-84), KARE-11's helicopter tracking a tornado from beginning to end ('86), the '87 "Superstorm", withering drought in '88, a family of blizzards in '94, a $2 billion hail damage year ('98), 145 Minnesota tornadoes in 2010, most in the USA, the hottest year in recorded history ('12), then the recent Polar Vortex and wettest month ever recorded (June '14).

That's enough.

That said, I've NEVER given a wind chill report in mid-July. That may be about to change. The good news: no frost (or flurries!), but a stiff northwest wind will make Monday's "high" of 63F feel like 54F. An extra layer or two during the hottest week of summer, on average?

What happened to average.

Monday should break a record for the coolest high on July 14, set in 1884. I suspect we'll set a record for chilliest MLB All-Star Game Tuesday evening, as temperatures sink thru the low 60s. Expect 40s up north; furnaces will click on. You may do a double-take glancing up at the calendar. Good news: toasty 80s return late next week.

I'm sure enjoying the new normal.


* graphic credit: upper left: Climate Reanalyzer; upper right: Weather Bell temperature anomalies for 18z Monday.


Another Plan B Saturday. Showers and T-storms are likely today, especially central and southern Minnesota, as a wave of low pressure tracks along an advancing cool front. Although the odds of severe weather are small, a few T-storms may pack small hail and very heavy rain, especially south of the MSP metro. The sun returns much of Sunday as cooler, drier, Canadian air floods south. RAP Future Radar: NOAA and HAMweather.


Arthur's Revenge? As the soggy, extra-tropical remains of Hurricane Arthur accelerated into the Canadian Maritimes it may have helped to dislodge unusually chilly air near James Bay, a vast counterclockwise flow rotating brisk air southward. NOAA's NAM 2-meter temperature forecast shows record-setting chill plowing into the Upper Mississippi Valley and Dakotas by Monday and Tuesday. Loop: HAMweather.


A/C Optional. Canada will provide all the fresh air you could ever want from Sunday into the middle of next week; a record (chilly) high temperature all but inevitable on Monday (old record is 68F in 1884) and I believe Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game will be the coolest ever played, at least since 1980 with low to mid 60s by gametime under a partly cloudy sky and a brisk breeze from the northwest. Take a light jacket or Twins sweatshirt. We warm up later next week; more 80s before T-storms return next weekend. Of course.


Cool Start To July. Dr. Mark Seeley has some interesting nuggets in this week's edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk; here's an excerpt: "...The month of July has started cool with most observers reporting average temperature for the month that ranges from 2-4 degrees F cooler than normal. Eight of the first ten days of the month were cooler than normal at Rochester, for example. Statewide this is the coldest first ten days of July since 2009. Some observers have reported daily record values of temperature. Starting on July 1st a few locations reported new record cold high temperature values for the date including a high of just 57 degrees F at Crookston and Tamarac Wildlfe Refuge, and a high of only 63 degrees F at Wheaton. On July 3rd Brimson (St Louis County) reported a new record minimum temperature of 36 degrees F, as did Long Prairie (Todd County) with a record minimum of 41 degrees F..."


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°.


How Data Helps Contain Wildfires. I thought this story at Dell's Tech Page One was interesting; here's a clip: "...Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Idaho are likely to burn this season too, according to Delgado’s predictive data. Every morning, he briefs officials so they can decide where to move resources around the country to protect property and save lives. The data focuses on the three elements of the wildfire triangle: heat, fuel and oxygen. There also are variables such as topography, the type of combustible material each season and the weather..."


So What Do You Know About Hurricanes? Metro Jacksonville has a terrific infographic with a few surprises: "Considering it's hurricane season, Metro Jacksonville shares a Global Data Vault infographic featuring data provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)."


NASA Spots a Super Typhoon. National Geographic has a post about "Neoguri", captured by the ISS, The International Space Station: "Watch out, Japan!" said European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst after taking this July 7 picture of Supertyphoon Neoguri from the International Space Station. The supertyphoon lashed Okinawa this week, and at the time the photo was taken, was producing 150-mile-an-hour (240-kilometer-an-hour) winds..."

Photograph by Alexander Gerst, ESA/NASA.


Upgraded HWRF and GFDL Hurricane Models Excelled During Hurricane Arthur. Weather Underground has a good summary of how NOAA's enhanced, recently upgraded high-resolution models just performed; here's an excerpt: "The landfall last week of Hurricane Arthur, the first named tropical system in the Atlantic for 2014, brought a quick start to this year’s hurricane season. Perhaps lost in the predictions and preparations for Arthur’s landfall was the fact that there have been major upgrades this year to the two operational National Weather Service (NWS) regional hurricane prediction systems, the GFDL and HWRF models. Here we will provide background on each of those models and highlight the forecast improvements achieved from recent upgrades to both models..."

Image credit above: "Inner core structure of Hurricane Katrina of 2005 simulated from the GFDL hurricane forecast model. Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) are denoted by the color shading, with the darker colors of blue showing the cooling of the SSTs due to the hurricane winds mixing the cooler waters from below to the surface."


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).


How To Protect Your Vacation During Hurricane Season 2014. There's some useful information for anyone planning a trip to the shore in the coming months; here's an excerpt from motoemag.com: "...Travel Insured, a leading travel insurance company, wants to remind travelers that even if the planned destination is not within the hurricane path, hurricanes can greatly affect travel and flight schedules at airports all over the country. While an insurance plan solely for the disruption of a hurricane is not available, purchasing a plan with coverage that protects the inconveniences that hurricanes can cause can be helpful. Check out some of the best tips dealing with travel insurance coverage that people might often overlook..."


Study Provides New Approach to Forecast Hurricane Intensity. Predicting hurricane intensity is much more challenging than forecasting track; here's an excerpt of a story focused on new research from The University of Miami: "New research from University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science suggests that physical conditions at the air-sea interface, where the ocean and atmosphere meet, is a key component to improve forecast models. The study offers a new method to aid in storm intensity prediction of hurricanes. “The general assumption has been that the large density difference between the ocean and atmosphere makes that interface too stable to effect storm intensity,” said Brian Haus, UM Rosenstiel School professor of ocean sciences and co-author of the study. “In this study we show that a type of instability may help explain rapid intensification of some tropical storms...”


Data and Analytics Try To Limit Hurricane Damage. Dell Computer has an interesting guest post about the power of analytics and models to get a better handle on which communities in Hurricane Alley are most vulnerable, and how much cash to set aside for a rainy (windy) day. Here's a clip: "...With every new hurricane that makes landfall in the U.S., advanced catastrophe modeling and analytics allow property-casualty carriers to more accurately price a homeowners insurance policy. Models also help insurance carriers calculate the amount of capital they need to set aside in reserve to pay claims and how many catastrophe insurance policies insurers can afford to reinsure. Catastrophe models help insurance companies plan ahead and serve as a tool that contributes to the industry allocating capital more efficiently, Larsen says..." (File image: EPA).


What Is Causing The Kidney Stone Epidemic? Staying hydrated in the (increasing) heat is everything; here's an excerpt from io9.com: "Pediatric urologist Gregory Tasian and his team analyzed over 60,000 medical records of people with kidney stones in major cities throughout the U.S. What they found was that people were more likely to develop the painful calcium deposits (pictured above) in their kidneys when average temperatures rose over 50 degrees. In fact, many cases of kidney stones cropped up roughly three days after a hot day. Now that climate change means that some regions of the globe are heating up, it's likely that kidney stones will become even more common..."


Map: Every U.S. Hot Car Child Death in 2014. HLNtv.com 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.


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.


Net-Zero Energy Test Home Ends Year-Long Study With Surplus Energy. When people start saving green by going green renewables will become mainstream. With Moore's Law and big price drops It's only a matter of time. Here's an excerpt from gizmag.com: "Braving a harsh winter with snow-covered solar panels, the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) in Washington DC has come up trumps in a year-long study of its energy harvesting capabilities. Located on campus at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), researchers used computer simulation to replicate the energy consumption of a family of four. At the end of its first 12 months, there was a large enough surplus to power an electric car for 1,440 miles (2,317 km)..."


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.


The Post-Post Apocalyptic Detroit. It's hard not to root for the people of Detroit at this point; I sure wouldn't bet against them pulling the city back from the brink. The New York Times has a fascinating story; here's an excerpt: "...The belief in Detroit’s imminent revival has spread far beyond Dan Gilbert and the skyscrapers of downtown. Out in the neighborhoods, there is a legion of mini-Gilberts, longtime Detroiters and recent transplants alike, who have united around a conviction that the city has fallen as far as it can go — that the time to buy in is at hand. Just a couple of years after Detroit slid into what the national news media incessantly called a “post-apocalyptic” collapse, the city now teems with a post-post-apocalyptic optimism..."

Photo credit above: "A view of Detroit from G.M.'s Renaissance Center." Credit Andrew Moore for The New York Times.


Say It Isn't So - World's Largest Mall Slated for Dubai. It should be noted that Dubai already has 52 malls, each with it's own magazine. Because they do BIG THINGS in Dubai. Maybe our Mall of America can expand into MSP International to keep us in the hunt. Gizmag has more details: "...Dubai Holding hasn't revealed firm dates nor a budget for the project yet, but we do know some basic information. It comprises 743,224 sq m (8 million sq ft) of floorspace, which makes it easily the largest mall in the world, a shade larger than China's Forbidden City, and about four times the size of France's Louvre Palace..."


Every State in the USA, Ranked by it's Food/Drink. Minnesota ranked 23rd out of 50 states. Really? Here's an excerpt of a sure-to-be-controversial story at Thrillist: "...Surly’s was at the forefront of a damn fine brewing scene, but really this ranking is about the glorious innovation that is the Juicy Lucy. Any chump can melt cheese ON a burger, but it takes vision to put it INSIDE the burger. For such achievements you get a pass on that suspect-looking hot dish stuff..."


Amazon Asks FAA For Permission to Fly Drones. Some-day delivery within 30 minutes? Like a vending machine in the sky. The Associated Press has the story; here's a clip: "...In a letter to the FAA dated Wednesday, Amazon said it is developing aerial vehicles as part of Amazon Prime Air. The aircraft can travel over 50 miles per hour and carry loads of up to 5 pounds. About 86 percent of Amazon's deliveries are 5 pounds or less, the company said. "We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so," Amazon said in the letter..." (Image credit: amazon.com).


81 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.

84 F. average high on July 11.

86 F. high on July 11, 2013.

1.03" rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.

July 11, 1863: Cool wave across state. Frost in Twin Cities area.


TODAY: Showers and a few T-storms likely. Winds: NW 5-10. High: near 80

SATURDAY NIGHT: Partial clearing. Low: 63

SUNDAY: Drier day of the weekend. Partly sunny, cooler breeze. Dew point: 51. High: 76

MONDAY: Typical for Oct. 6. Clouds, showers. Wake-up: 59. High: 63 (old record cool high is 68 in 1884)

TUESDAY: MLB: All-Stars in layers? Wind chill (sorry): 57. Wake-up: 56. High: 67

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, pretty close to perfect. Dew point: 45. Wake-up: 55. High: 74

THURSDAY: Warm sunshine, July-ish again. Wake-up: 58. High: near 80

FRIDAY: Sunny. Plenty of summer left. Really. Wake-up: 62. High: 84


Climate Stories....

"But There's Been No Warming Since 1998!" Global surface temperatures have plateaued, but the oceans continue to warm, in fact more than 90% of all warming is going into the world's oceans. Here's an excerpt from The Union of Concerned Scientists: "...Focusing on relatively short time periods to claim global warming is not happening is a misleading way to use statistics. These false claims have become so persistent that late last year the Associated Press asked a team of independent statisticians to review global temperature data without revealing to them what the data represented.[5] All of the statisticians concluded that the data showed an unmistakable upward trend over time..."


In Las Vegas Climate Change Deniers Regroup, Vow to Keep Doubt Alive. Bloomberg Businessweek has the story; here's the introduction: "Earlier this week, the Heartland Institute convened its Ninth International Climate Change Conference in Las Vegas. A nonprofit, free-market think tank in Chicago with a $6 million annual budget, Heartland has been hosting conferences since 2008 for those dubious of the science confirming human-caused climate change. It is called the ICCC for short, the acronym an intentional echo of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international body that has published the most comprehensive studies of global warming..."

Image credit above: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times via Redux. "The Greener Horizon booth at the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change."


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..."

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

Posted by: Paul Douglas under Lions 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. HLNtv.com 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).

Summer On Hold Early Next Week - Coolest MLB All-Star Game on Record?

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: July 10, 2014 - 1:15 PM

"July-tober"

Not much surprises me anymore. Numbing cold followed by record rains as weather patterns slow and our climate becomes more volatile? A 4th of July blizzard would have gotten my attention.

Welcome to the "new normal".

Even so next week's weather map made me do a double-take. During what is typically the hottest week of the year a hunk of October-like air will hurtle south. Minnesotans will be wandering around in light jackets & sweatshirts on Monday and early Tuesday, mourning the (temporary) death of summer.

1816 was "A Year Without a Summer", due to low solar activity and volcanic eruptions. Heavy snows were reported into June; ice "thick enough to support the full weight of a duck" into July over New England.

This summer? Not quite that extreme, but the jet stream is still misbehaving and I suspect it's related to rapid warming of the Arctic. We'll see.

A comfortable Thursday gives way to a few T-storms Friday, the wettest day in sight. Soak up 80s Saturday because an autumn-like cool front arrives late Sunday. By Monday "highs" may hold in the 50s north, 60s south with a discernible whiff of crisp mid-summer wind chill.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any stranger around here.


* Monday 1 PM temperature anomalies across the USA courtes of Weather Bell. Temperatures may be 26 F. cooler than average across much of Minnesota; as much as 30-34 F. warmer than normal across western Canada. More crazy extremes.


.28" rain predicted for MSP tonight and early Friday. Source: NOAA NAM model


Reinforcing Tired Stereotypes. "Oh, you're from Minnesota. It's really cold up there, huh?" Raise your hand if you've ever heard that before. Plan on hearing more of it after Tuesday's MLB All-Star game, which may wind up being the coolest on record, with gametime temperatures in the 60s under a mostly clear sky. Light jacket or sweatshirt weather. But not as chilly as Monday, when 10-20 mph winds, coupled with ragged clouds and PM showers will make you SWEAR it's October. Something to look forward to. A meager warm front sparks a few showers and T-showers tonight into Friday morning. Summer takes a siesta next week.


Risk of a Smoky Sunset. Visible satellite imagery Wednesday showed a plume of smoke sweeping across the Dakotas, from wildfires blazing over Canada's Northwest Territories. Some of that smoke may reach Minnesota in the coming days, giving the sky a milky, hazy cast - possibly sparking an extra-red sunrise or sunset. Image: Des Moines office of the National Weather Service and Twitter.


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.


Steps To Reduce The Risk of Tornado Damage in Commercial Structures. Here's an excerpt of an interesting story at DisasterSafety.org that caught my eye: "...The strongest category of tornadoes can generate maximum wind speeds of greater than 250 mph, which is enough to destroy most buildings and structures in their path. These maximum wind speeds generate forces that are about twice as large as those generated by the strongest hurricanes. Only a few specialty buildings are designed to withstand the direct impact of a severe tornado. However, well engineered, large and tall commercial structures are not likely to suffer structural collapse. For smaller commercial structures, good construction choices can give added protection and increase the likelihood that at least part of the structure will remain standing to provide shelter. Buildings that have been strengthened in critical areas and particularly at connection points, such as between the roof and walls and walls and foundation, would have a good chance of surviving intact or with minor cosmetic damage if subjected to the outer edges of a tornado..."


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.


Severe Thunderstorm Winds Days Per Year Since 2003. The same trends are evident with thunderstorm generated straight-line winds, with a peak frequence over the western Carolinas and the Tennessee Valley. On average the Twin Cities have picked up an average of 8-9 severe wind days/year since 2003.


Want To Avoid Hail? Move North. Cool breezes off Lake Superior inhibit the largest, hail-producing thunderstorms much of the summer season: 1-3 large hail days a year for Duluth, on average, but less than 1 for much of the North Shore and Minnesota Arrowhead. That compares with 3-6 large hail days for Minneapolis - St. Paul, and over 8 hail days/year for Kansas City and the Denver area.


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."


Be Prepared! What To Do Before, During, And After a Hurricane. RedOrbit has a timely article with some useful information and links; here's an excerpt: "From June 1 to November 30 of each year, the Atlantic hurricane season flexes its muscles. In an effort to help keep people alive and safe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps a Hurricane Preparedness website that is full of great information to help with hurricane health and safety. The CDC provides important tips to help before, during, and after a hurricane. Before: The first tip is to prepare for a hurricane. If you live in a place that could be hit, it is best to prepare now rather than wait for a hurricane to be imminent. Before a hurricane, the CDC identifies two steps: make a plan and get supplies. In making a plan, the CDC gives these readiness suggestions..." (Hurricane Irene file photo: 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..."


What's The Difference Between a Hurricane, Cyclone and Typhoon? Of course they are one in the same, but some of the classifications are slightly different, as explained at wsav.com; here's a clip: "...To be classified as a hurricane… typhoon or cyclone… a storm must reach wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour. If a hurricane's winds reach speeds of 111 miles per hour… it is then upgraded to a major hurricane. If a typhoon hits 150 miles per hour then it becomes a super typhoon..."


I Was a TSA Agent, And The New Airport Cellphone Rules Wouldn't Stop an iBomb. Well this is reassuring as I board the plane (clutching my Bible tightly). Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "...This is the real conundrum that accompanies most post-9/11 airport security rules: the logic behind them is a race to the bottom. Consider...

  • If a group of terrorists is clever enough to pack explosives inside a laptop to make them undetectable by current technology, wouldn't they be clever enough to devise an explosive laptop that can do all of this ... and still appear to power up?
  • If US intelligence next announces that terrorists have become clever enough to engineer the faux-power laptop bomb, and passengers are then required to prove their laptops can connect to airport WiFi, how long until murky intelligence warns of a hotspot-enabled iBomb?..."

Image credit above: "'During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones,' the TSA warned. 'Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft." Photograph: Leanne1985 / Flickr via Creative Commons.


Decades-Old Forgotten Vials of Smallpox Found In Storage Room. So don't sweat the thundershowers tomorrow OK? Here's a clip from an AP story at Huffington Post: "A government scientist cleaning out an old storage room at a research center near Washington made a startling discovery last week — decades-old vials of smallpox packed away and forgotten in a cardboard box. The six glass vials were intact and sealed, and scientists have yet to establish whether the virus is dead or alive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. Still, the find was disturbing because for decades after smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980, world health authorities said the only known samples left were safely stored in super-secure laboratories in Atlanta and in Russia..."

Image credit above: "This 1975 file electronmicrograph from the Centers for Disease Control shows the smallpox virus. Government officials say workers cleaning a storage room at the National Institute of Health's campus in Maryland made a startling discovery last week: decades-old vials of smallpox forgotten in a cardboard box." (AP Photo/CDC, File)


Seoul's Eccentric Mayor is Building Hotels for Insects. Yes, Insects. Great! One less city on my travel bucket list. GlobalPost has the curious details; here's a clip: "As part of its greening efforts, Seoul is embarking on a campaign to establish 27 “insect hotels” in parks and public areas, offering the bug population a refuge in this gray, cyberpunk Asian mega-city, protecting them against the spread of insecticide. City officials are enthusiastic. “Seoul was developed very fast, and it wasn't regulated. We don't have a diverse species of bugs,” explained Yang Gyoung-gyu, a city environmental advisor. “The effect of the insect hotel is to expand the diversity of species...”


California Screaming. The tech industry made the Bay Area rich. Why do so many residents hate it? Nathan Heller has an interesting read at The New Yorker; here's an excerpt: "...Many people in San Francisco today worry that the tech industry is behaving like Coyote, professing to nurture and provide while actually hoarding. San Francisco has a real-estate shortage. Some speculators, looking to capitalize on growing demand, have started circumventing rent control using buyouts: lumps of cash given if long-term tenants leave. Others have invoked a 1986 California law known as the Ellis Act, which permits evictions when landlords want to go out of business permanently..."


"Cloud" Brings Thunder and Lightning Inside Your Home. I'm going to need a few of these, especially in the guest bathroom, right above the toilet. Details at gizmag.com: "Cloud, by New Zealand-based designer Richard Clarkson, is an interactive lamp designed to mimic a thundercloud. It brings the outside inside, providing an audiovisual show that looks and sounds like thunder and lightning ... but thankfully rain isn't included in the package..."


Student-Designed Device Reduces Gas Lawnmower Air Pollution by Over 90 Percent. Yes, our kids will save us from ourselves; here's another example of the kind of innovation we're going to need from Gizmag: "Gas-powered lawnmowers are notorious polluters. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, running a new gas mower for one hour produces as much air pollution as would be generated by 11 typical automobiles being driven for the same amount of time. Switching to an electric or reel mower is certainly one option, but for those applications where it's gotta be gasoline, a team of engineering students from the University of California, Riverside are developing another: an attachment that they claim reduces noxious emissions by over 90 percent..."


When "Sprinkles" are Newsworthy. My friend, Bill Stein, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and sent me this tweet yesterday. Yes, in a severe, historic drought a few drips from the sky constitute "breaking news". His comments: "I thought you might get a slight laugh out of the attached pic. I raced to grab a photo of sprinkles here in Pleasanton and tweeted it to the Bay Area NWS. They retweeted the picture and the next thing I know San Fran's NBC station wants to run the picture. Of sprinkles!!! (Though Stockton, CA actually set a record with .01" of rain today.)"


79 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

84 F. average high on July 9.

87 F. high on July 9, 2013.

July 9, 2002: Intense rainfall causes extensive street flooding in St. Cloud. 2.70 inches of rain fell in 1 hour 45 minutes at St. Cloud State University. Persons were stranded in their cars and had to be rescued by the fire department.


TODAY: Sunshine gives way to increasing clouds late. Dew point: 60. Winds: S 10. High: near 80

THURSDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy with a good chance of T-storms late. Low: 65

FRIDAY: Unsettled and more humid, few T-storms likely. Dew point: 64. High: 80

SATURDAY: Sunny start, lake-worthy much of the day. Late T-storm south. Wake-up: 69. High: 84

SUNDAY: Patchy clouds, turning cooler late. Wake-up: 67. High: 79

MONDAY: July wind chill. Cloudy & windy. Feels like Autumn. Wake-up: 57. High: 65

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, comfortably cool. Wake-up: 50. High: 70

WEDNESDAY: Sunny and pleasant. DP: 48. Wake-up: 55. High: 75


Climate Stories....

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).


The Climate Optimists. It's tempting to rail against Big Government. Until a freak storm levels your home, or flooding paralyzes your community, or a withering drought brings business as usual to a screeching halt. Then the free-market advocates usually come crying to the very same Big Government to bail them out and clean up the mess. Which will happen with greater frequency if climate scientists are correct. According to Will Oremus at Slate attending a climate denier conference in Las Vegas, conservatives have a new line on climate change: "It's real, but it's nothing to worry about!" Here's an excerpt: "...It’s tempting to find irony in the spectacle of hundreds of climate change deniers staging their convention amid a drought of historic proportions. But, as the conference organizers are quick to tell you, they aren’t actually climate change deniers. The majority of this year’s speakers readily acknowledge that the climate is changing. Some­ will even concede that human emissions are playing a role. They just think the solutions are likely to be far worse than the problem..."

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