Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 35 years of television and radio experience. A serial entrepreneur, Douglas is Senior Meteorologist and Founder of Media Logic Group. Douglas and a team of meteorologists, engineers and developers provide weather services for various media at Broadcast Weather, high-tech alerting and briefing services for companies via Alerts Broadcaster and weather data, apps and API’s from Aeris Weather. His speaking engagements take him around the Midwest with a message of continuous experimentation and reinvention, no matter what business you’re in. He is the public face of “SAVE”, Suicide Awareness, Voices of Education, based in Bloomington. | Send Paul a question.

Posts about Vikings

Cool & Showery (looks promising for MN Fishing Opener & Mother's Day)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: May 8, 2012 - 2:23 PM



Spotty Showers. A swirl of cold air aloft will keep us mostly cloudy and cool today; the best chance of scattered showers midday and afternoon. NWS Doppler at 2:23 pm shows a few scattered showers and possible thundershowers; with the freezing level close to the ground I wouldn't be surprised to hear a few reports of thunder and pea-size hail later today with a few of these cells - but it's too cool and dry for a widespread severe outbreak.


Hooray! I've never been happier getting an e-mail alert from The Star Tribune (10:43 pm last night). Thank you to Vikings fans and legislators in the Minnesota House who made the tough call to get this done, once and for all. I know I'm just a dazed weather guy, but I'm also a Minnesota tax payer and businessman, and I'm thrilled that the Vikings will be sticking around indefinitely, with a new, state-of-the-art stadium - one that will be used for a lot more than NFL football. Some were skeptical of Target Field, but that seems to be working out pretty well. I know there are vocal critics, and yes, we need to spend money on infrastructure, health care and education and a host of other challenges, but losing the Vikings was not an attractive proposition. I think it was the right call. Hopefully the MN Senata will feel the same way...


66 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

67 F. average high for May 7.

72 F. high temperature on May 7, 2011.

.07" showery rains predicted this afternoon/evening (NAM model).

First dry Saturday in a month? The early word is encouraging - details below.


4.23" rain the first 6 days of May, 2012

.77" average rain for the first 6 days of May in the Twin Cities.

.15" rainfall from May 1-6, 2011.


Minnesota Fishing Opener. This is how I'll be spending my Saturday. Not sure why, but I seem to have better luck fishing potholes. Odd. I'm cautiously optimistic for the weekend weather, although I expect complaints about:

a). too much sunshine, and

b). a rising barometer.

* Expect sunrise temperatures in the mid to upper 40s Saturday and Sunday morning. Saturday morning may start out cloudy and damp, but skies should be mostly clear Sunday morning.

Saturday: Damp, gray start giving way to partly sunny conditions. Winds: West 10-15. High: 64 (Gull Lake) to 68 (Lake Minnetonka and White Bear).

Sunday: More sun, fewer clouds - beautiful. Winds: Southwest 5-15. Highs: 69 (Pelican and Round Lake) to 71 (Mille Lacs) to 75 (Lake Pepin)


Fishing Opener + Mother's Day: What Can Possibly Go Wrong? The European ECMWF model is fairly encouraging for next weekend, hinting at clouds and a little drizzle early Saturday, giving way to a mix of clouds and sun, a northwest breeze. Sunday looks sunnier and a few degrees milder by afternoon, highs reaching the low 70s for Mother's Day. BTW, the high temperatures above (in red) are in Celsius. Don't want to trigger any heart-palpitations.


Weekend Details. The ECMWF prints out .3 mm early Saturday, between 1 am and 7 am. We may wake up to clouds and drizzle, but a west to northwest wind should provide partial clearing. Miraculously, Mother's Day looks dry, sunny and lukewarm with a light west to northwest breeze. Apparently Mother Nature will be celebrating as well.


Cartoon courtesy of Brian Zalkowski.


A (Temporary) Break In The Action? Long-range guidance is hinting at a return to drier, slightly cooler weather for much of America east of the Mississippi. Details from CPC and Ham Weather below. No major storms or frontal passages are expected through the middle of next week.


"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." - Albert Einstein.


" A stream of highly charged particles from the sun is headed straight toward Earth, threatening to plunge cities around the world into darkness and bring the global economy screeching to a halt." - excerpt from an L.A. Times story; details below. Have a nice day.


Union Gospel Mission Turns 110. Congratulations to one of the most remarkable non-profits in Minnesota, an organization that turns lives around, one at a time. Details on their big celebration below.


A Month's Worth Of Rain Last Weekend. These are Doppler radar estimates from NOAA's AHPS (Advanced Hydrological Prediction Service). Much of central and southern Minnesota picked up 2-5" of rain from Friday into Sunday morning - pretty impressive. Over 6" soaked the Wisconsin Dells from the same stalled frontal boundary. We dry out this week - no more excessive rainfall amounts in sight.


A Drier Week. A few instability showers are likely this afternoon and evening, dry weather returns Wednesday and Thursday with a few fleeting T-showers on Friday. Right now the weekend looks dry. I know - I'll believe it when I see it.

Note To Self: Take The Rest Of The Week Off. Cooler, Canadian air pushing southward temporarily shuts off a moist, unstable flow from the Gulf of Mexico, reducing the potential for heavy/severe T-storms into much of next week. A west/northwest jet stream wind flow aloft means cooler weather for the eastern half of the USA, while heat builds out west. The best chance of Minnesota showers: this afternoon, again Friday. 180-hour GFS outlook courtesy of NOAA.


Sunrise Temperatures Saturday. Getting up early for Saturday's Fishing Opener? Expect temperatures in the low 40s (north) to mid and upper 40s (metro lakes). Details from NOAA.


Spring (For Real). No more cold fronts until further notice. The GFS is predicting 70s, even a couple of low 80s, between May 15-23. The next chance of significant rain may not come until May 21, give or take.


High Winds Cause Damage In Las Vegas Area. Details and video from KTNV-TV in Las Vegas: "High winds sweeping through the Valley caused damage to businesses and power outages at homes on Monday afternoon. The first report of damage came from a building on Flamingo near Eastern at about 3:30 p.m. A spokesperson for Clark County said the structure lost tiles from the roof and the building appeared to be unoccupied. A dollar store near Flamingo and Owens also suffered wind damage."


Record Highs on May 6

Springfield, IL                     90

Galveston, TX                    85 (tie)

Greenville, MS                 92 (tie)

Jacksonville, FL                 96

Alma, FL                               95

New Iberia, LA                  92 (tie)

North Little Rock, AR      90 (tie)

Batesville, AR                     91

Monticello, AR                  91

Little Rock AFB, AR          91

Jonesboro, AR                   94 (tie)

Paducah, KY                       91

Evansville, IN                     91 (tie)

St Louis, MO                       92

Fort Smith, AR                   91 (tie)

* thanks to Earth Networks for passing these reports along.


Welcome to "La Nada". What happens when there's no La Nina (cooling) or obvious El Nino (warming) of the Pacific? La Nada, which is a nickname for who-the-heck-knows what will happen next? At least with El Nino or La Nina changes in Pacific Ocean currents can nudge the weather downwind, over North America, in one direction or another. The L.A. Times has more: "La Niña, the demon diva of drought, has ended, but what comes next could be even more foreboding: La Nada. La Nada, or "nothing" in Spanish, is climatologist Bill Patzert's nickname for when surface sea temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are about normal. That means ocean temperatures are not too warm, which would trigger an El Niño and would typically mean a rainy winter in Southern California. The sea also is not too cold, which produces a La Niña and usually means a dry season."


May 4 Kiester, Minnesota Tornado. An update from Twin Cities National Weather Service: "A tornado touched down two miles west of Kiester on Friday, May 4th. It travelled east-northeast, and dissipated two miles northeast of Kiester in eastern Faribault County. The tornado was on the ground four miles and had a maximum width of 50 yards. The tornado was rated an EF-0, with winds of around 75 mph. It damaged trees, took down three barns, and destroyed a number of sheds and other outbuildings. A few windows were blown out. Power poles were also knocked down. This tornado occurred between about 5:50 PM and 6:00 PM. The precise time of the touchdown is yet determined."

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Crock & KAAL


Kansas City Funnel. Here is YouTube footage of the funnel that threatened Olathe, a suburb of Kansas City, courtesy of UneGosseFolle.


Palm Beach County Funnel. From the Miami National Weather Service via FB: "No tornado Warning was issued as the funnel cloud did not reach the ground. However, a significant weather advisory was issued for northern Broward and southern Palm Beach counties for possible funnel cloud development."


Tornado Near Tokyo Kills One, Injures Dozens. Amazing. The USA experiences more tornadoes than any other nation on earth (average of 1200 to 1500/year). It's rare to get such a big, long-lasting tornado in Japan. Details from U-T San Diego: "A tornado tore through a city northeast of Japan's capital on Sunday, killing one person, injuring dozens of others and destroying scores of houses. Firefighters and medical teams rushed to the area after the tornado struck Tsukuba city, 60 kilometers (40 miles) from Tokyo. The city is a science center, with dozens of research and academic institutes, but the tornado appeared to mostly hit residential areas."

Photo credit above: "This photo was taken by an anonymous Tsukuba resident,showing a tornado in Tsukuba City, northeast of Tokyo, on Sunday, May 6, 2012. The tornado tore through the area, injuring at least 30 people, destroying dozens of homes and leaving thousands more without electricity (AP Photo/Kyodo News). AP Photo.


Japan Tornado - Another Perspective. Folks living northeast of Tokyo must have been flabbergasted: an EF-2 or EF-3 strength tornado in Japan? The raw YouTube footage is here.


This Will Put A Dimple In Your Prius. Good grief: that's 3-4" diameter hail, hitting the ground at over 100 mph. Details from the Chicago office of The National Weather Service Facebook site: "The same supercell thunderstorm over Iroquois County when it was near Watseka produced extremely large, baseball-sized hail! This photo was sent by Steve Peters to Tammie Souza, who shared it with us."


Photo Of The Day: "Wall Cloud". Here is a terrific photo of a rotating "supercell" thunderstorm that went on to spawn large hail; details from the Chicago office of The National Weather Service. They've been busy down there in recent days. More info: "Here's an impressive photo of a wall cloud southwest of Ashkum in Iroquois County on Sunday afternoon."


You've Been Warned: Wireless Providers Enroll In Emergency Alerts For Severe Weather. Here's an interesting article from The Carroll County Times: "They are short and to the point. They warn of potentially life-threatening weather, Amber Alerts and messages from the president in case of emergency. They are sent to mobile phones via text message immediately. Wireless emergency alerts, sent immediately after warnings are issued, are being implemented in a joint effort by the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This month, the National Weather Service will start utilizing wireless emergency alerts for tornado, flash flood and blizzard warnings, among others. They will go directly to wireless users in an affected county automatically."

Illustration above: Carroll County Times.


Storm Warnings For Ships. Here's an excerpt of an interesting article (at least I thought so) from Tampa Bay Online: "The trip from McKay Bay to the Sunshine Skyway in a chugging freighter can take as long as five hours, so the weather along the way can change a couple of times. It could be sunny and balmy in Tampa while thunderous storms rage near Egmont Key, said Capt. Mike Buffington, a harbor pilot for the Port of Tampa. Ships heading in and out of the port travel some 42 miles to get to the Gulf of Mexico. So the new initiative by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service to provide real-time, pinpoint weather analysis to harbor pilots guiding ships on marine routes through the Bay is being warmly received."


"Think It'll Snow?" The short answer is yes. Here's more from the Crater Lake National Park Facebook site: "About 2 miles of West Rim Dr is plowed but still closed to motor vehicles. Good place to walk with Fido or go for a bike ride. Improvised bike racks provided."


Snow Drought That Hammered Skiers Now Threatens Farmers. The story from USA Today, KUSA-TV and AP: "The dearth of snow that set back Colorado's ski areas this winter is now taking its toll on farmers, KUSA-TV reports. It could cost farmers millions of dollars and translate to higher prices for consumers. Snow runoff traditionally fills up the ditches and ponds that farmers tap to irrigate crops. Not this year. The "terrible year" for ski resorts is translating to a lack of surface water for farmers who say their options for water are limited. "It's a huge issue. I consider water more valuable than gold," Weld County farmer Glen Fritzler tells KUSA. "We can't survive without it."


Cooler, Drier Bias Next 2 Weeks. The good news: weather will be largely siren-free east of the Mississippi through the third week of May. CPC, the Climate Prediction Center (division of NOAA) is predicting cooler weather through May 18 for much of the east, a warm bias out west. Details from Ham Weather.


Space Weather Expert Has Ominous Forecast. Great, as if we didn't all have enough on our plates. Now the sun may be interfering with our lives? Here's an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: "A stream of highly charged particles from the sun is headed straight toward Earth, threatening to plunge cities around the world into darkness and bring the global economy screeching to a halt. This isn't the premise of the latest doomsday thriller. Massive solar storms have happened before — and another one is likely to occur soon, according to Mike Hapgood, a space weather scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, England. Much of the planet's electronic equipment, as well as orbiting satellites, have been built to withstand these periodic geomagnetic storms. But the world is still not prepared for a truly damaging solar storm, Hapgood argues in a recent commentary published in the journal Nature."

Photo credit above: "A massive explosion on the sun's surface has triggered the largest solar radiation storm since 2005, hurling charged particles at Earth. (NASA / May 4, 2012)."


"Ask Paul". Weather-related Q&A:


"Is there a good website that you can direct me to that will show the amount of precipitation in area on a specific date?



Steve - the "Puddles Page" at the Minnesota Climatology Working Group is the best resource I've found for tracking down map-based and text-based rainfall amounts. Check it out.


Hi Paul,

"Thanks for being a great meteorologist and congratulations on your own weather company.  I realize this is not the most earth shaking question you've gotten, but I'm interested in your thoughts.  

I've noticed that most local TV meteorologists do not give rain or snow amounts and high and low temperatures from the day before.  I'm always asking the TV what the weather was like yesterday and never get an answer. ( Of course, today when I bring it up I see that channel 4 is covering it because of the deluge we got last night.) 

A lot has changed in weather forecasting over the last 50 years, most of it for the better.  While growing up on our dairy farm at New Market, my father was always watching the weather.  We talked about weather a lot.  I do miss the good old days when we got the weather stats from the day before from folks like Bud Krieling.  It seems they could add it to the charts they display.  Does it take too much time?  Or do they think people are not interested?   

I look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you."

Na zdravi!

Barbara Mahowald

Savage, MN


Thanks Barbara - appreciate the kind words. Did my mom set you up to write this letter? Either way, thank you. To be honest, when I was working in local TV the consultants ("news doctors") shared research that showed most viewers don't care so much about climate/almanac information - most viewers tend to care most about what will happen, not what already happened. Here on the blog I have the luxury of time (and space) and start out every blog with a recap of what happened yesterday in the Twin Cities. Here are a few sources you can tap to get the latest climate data for the Twin Cities:

1). Local National Weather Service Climate Data. Click on "CLIMSP" to get Twin Cities data.

2). Daily/Monthly Data For The Twin Cities. This is a good source to get a recap, day by day, month by month, going back to 2000. Both sites are great places to start if  you're looking for specifics on what just happened, weatherwise. Thanks for reading - feel free to send your weather observations, comments and anecdotes.

3). Storm Reports. The local NWS in Chanhassen does a great job updating this site. Check this to see reports on hail, tornadoes, high winds, record high or low temperatures, etc.

1 Week's Worth Of Storm Reports. Speaking of storms, it's OK to exhale - we get a break in the severe storm area through Friday. According to NOAA there have been near 3,000 individual severe storm reports in just the last week. Click here to navigate an interactive map, courtesy of Ham Weather.

Total Storm Reports: 2984
Wind: 695
Rain: 513
Snow/Blizzard: 17
Tornado: 103
Hail: 1637
Fire: 4
Lightning: 9
14: 1
Tides: 5


KVOA Puts More Eyes Around Tucson. A visual surveillance system called "SkyNet"? Wasn't there a movie about that, with a certain famous California governor? Yes, life is immitating art, and described in this article at The Arizona Daily Star which caught my eye; here's an excerpt: "Seeking an edge over the competition, KVOA-Channel 4 put together a network of remote-controlled HD cameras throughout the city to capture live footage of news as it occurs. News 4 Tucson Skynet lets the station instantly pull up footage of traffic problems, weather and other news as it breaks. Jeff Clemons, KVOA's marketing director, said the system, which went online April 25, gives the station access to footage others might need a helicopter to get. "We're able to scan the streets for pretty much whatever's out there." Clemons said he's not aware of any negative legal ramifications of having the system in place."


Air Force Pilots Blow The Whistle On F-22 Raptor's Mysterious, And Dangerous Flaw. Did you see the 60 Minutes story on Sunday? Amazing - these pilots were very brave to step up and talk on camera. Here's a good summary of the nagging issues related to F-22's, courtesy of Huffington Post: "Two elite Air Force pilots are seeking protection under the federal whistleblower law for revealing safety problems on the F-22 Raptor, and refusing to fly until those issues are resolved. On Sunday night, Maj. Jeremy Gordon and Capt. Josh Wilson risked their careers by appearing on the CBS news program "60 Minutes," in uniform and without permission to discuss the stealth fighter's flaw. Both pilots, who flew combat missions in the Iraq War, said they love flying the $400 million jets. But a faulty oxygen system that is suffocating the pilots and causing blackouts is making them fear for their lives and for the lives of people on the ground."

Photo credit above: "This June 22, 2009 photo released by the U.S. Navy shows an Air Force F-22 Raptor executing a supersonic flyby over the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Gulf of Alaska. (AP Photo/US Navy - Ronald Dejarnett, File)."


Psychology Of Fraud: Why Good People Do Bad Things. I thought this was a thought-provoking article; here's an excerpt from NPR: "Enron, Worldcom, Bernie Madoff, the subprime mortgage crisis. Over the past decade or so, news stories about unethical behavior have been a regular feature on TV, a long, discouraging parade of misdeeds marching across our screens. And in the face of these scandals, psychologists and economists have been slowly reworking how they think about the cause of unethical behavior. In general, when we think about bad behavior, we think about it being tied to character: Bad people do bad things. But that model, researchers say, is profoundly inadequate."

Illustration credit above: Adam Cole/NPR .


Bill Keller: Fox News "Murdoch's Most Toxic Legacy". Here' an excerpt of an article at "Former New York Times editor Bill Kellerhas written an op-ed column focused on Fox News Channel. Keller notes that it is a financial juggernaut for News Corp. and discusses a pair of Roger Ailes and Fox News biographies, one written without FNC’s consent by journalist Gabriel Sherman, and another by Ailes himself (along with a co-author). The issue Keller takes is not financial, but rather with how the network represents itself, and facts. That, he says, is Rupert Murdoch‘s “most toxic legacy”:

"I doubt that people at Fox News really believe their programming is “fair and balanced” — that’s just a slogan for the suckers — but they probably are convinced that what they have created is the conservative counterweight to a media elite long marinated in liberal bias. They believe that they are doing exactly what other serious news organizations do; they just do it for an audience that had been left out before Fox came along."

* Keller's full Op-ed in the New York Times is here.


Teal Camper Assembles And Breaks Down Like A Puzzle. Just what I want when I go camping - a puzzle. But, for those with more technical determination and tenacity than me - here's a clip from an article at "The Teal Camper gives campers an interesting way of combining the sturdy, hard-sided living quarters of a camping trailer with the easy storage of a smaller pop-up or tent. The camper is shipped to your door as a series of panels, and assembles into a two-person dwelling within about 90 minutes. When your camping season is over, you break it back down and store it neatly."


Put Away The Bell Curve: Move Of Us Aren't "Average". Here's a clip from NPR's Morning Edition: "For decades, teachers, managers and parents have assumed that the performance of students and employees fits what's known as the bell curve — in most activities, we expect a few people to be very good, a few people to be very bad and most people to be average. The bell curve powerfully shapes how we think of human performance: If lots of students or employees happen to show up as extreme outliers — they're either very good or very bad — we assume they must represent a skewed sample, because only a few people in a truly random sample are supposed to be outliers."

Photo credit above: "Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's record for career home runs as he hits No. 715 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on April 8, 1974, on his way to a career 755 home runs. Research suggests that in a wide variety of professions, including collegiate and professional sports, a small but significant number of individuals perform exceedingly well and the rest of individuals' performance trails off." Photo: AP.


Dubai Water Discus Hotel Will Allow Guests To Sleep Underwater. Truth: all I really need is clean sheets, a TV and free Wi-Fi. But Dubai tends to do everything over the top, as described in this article: "It seems the construction boom in bustling Dubai is far from over – already home to several world record-holding projects, including the tallest building (for just a little while longer), the largest shopping mall and biggest man-made island, plans are now afoot to construct what will likely be the world's largest underwater luxury hotel, the Water Discus. Several years ago, we reported on another such ambitious project, Hydropolis, which sadly never got past the blueprint stage. If Polish company Deep Ocean Technology's (DOT) plans come to fruition, however, guests could one day find themselves asleep beneath the waters of the Persian Gulf."


Spring Fling. Why are Monday's amazing and Saturdays...stink? Yesterday was close to perfect, low humidity, a fresh breeze, highs ranging from 60 at Alexandria to 65 St. Cloud, 66 in the Twin Cities and 69 at Eau Claire, Wisconsin.



110 And Counting. The Union Gospel Mission has been a Twin Cities institution for 110 years. Last night I had the honor of emceeing their birthday party (over 1100 people were there to help celebrate). The photo above is the UGM Changed Lives Choir, who sang their hearts out, along with the one and only Jearlyn Steel. Union Gospel Mission takes a spirit-based approach to helping people down on their luck, turning lives around, offering not only a place to stay and recover, but counseling and training to turn their residents into productive (joy-filled) citizens ready to return to the work force and their families. They get results, and we are a better community because they're here. Thanks for a great party, and congratulations!



Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:


TODAY: Mostly cloudy with showers likely. Rumble of thunder possible. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 57


TUESDAY NIGHT: Evening shower, then partial clearing late - chilly. Low: 45


WEDNESDAY: More sun, less wind - much nicer. High: 67


THURSDAY: Sunny, best day of the week? Low: 49. High: 74


FRIDAY: More clouds, stray T-shower possible. Low: 54. High: 69


SATURDAY (MINNESOTA FISHING OPENER): Damp start, then partly sunny and nice. Winds: W 10. High: 68


SATURDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear and comfortably cool. Low: 50


SUNDAY (MOTHER'S DAY): Bright sun, sunburnt moms. Winds: SW 10. High: 73


MONDAY: Mix of clouds and lukewarm sun. Low: 56. High: 75



Cautiously optimistic

Here's how I started my Monday, stumbling into the office. "Paul, why are Mondays amazing, while weekends suck?" Did I mention we need the rain? Fact: there's no scientific evidence that rain is more likely to fall on a Saturday than a Monday.

Man-made pollutants seeding clouds have been linked to more showers and T-storms downwind of some urban centers during the work week. Perception becomes reality right? More of us are outside on weekends - more weather-sensitive; at the mercy of the elements.

4.2 inches of rain fell on the metro during the first 6 days of May. That's a June's worth of rain! Some towns picked up closer to 6 inches, and lake water levels are beginning to respond. We're not entirely out of the woods with drought, but I'm feeling better about the weather maps.

A minor Canadian Relapse arrives today as a whirlpool of chilly, unstable air sloshes overhead - a few PM clouds and showers. Wednesday and Thursday look stunning, only a fleeting T-shower Friday.

A damp start Saturday gives way to intervals of sun; highs: 65-70 F. Not bad for a Minnesota Fishing Opener. Mom may need extra sunscreen on her big day: low 70s on Sunday. Good timing...for once.


"We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap." - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.


Climate Stories..


Why Don't TV Meteorologists Believe In Climate Change. First of all, the headlines is misleading. Many TV meteorologists do "believe" in science. The data is the data. I'm one of them, in case you've just emerged from a cave - that hardly comes as breaking news, right? Some of my colleagues on the TV side have been burned (repeatedly) by weather models, and they apply that same logic to climate simulations. Others have replaced science with ideology and politics. I suspect others enjoy being the "local science experts" in their markets, and don't like climate scientists hogging the limelight. Just a gut. I want to give some of these men and women, experts in short-term weather prediction, the benefit of a doubt: some may not have taken the time to dig into the climate science and rely on denier blogs and talk radio (God help us). Here's an excerpt of a story from InsideClimate News: "In recent years, the world's scientists have begun to show that climate change is altering the magnitude and frequency of severe weather, and polls say a majority of Americans now link droughts, floods and other extremes to global warming. And yet, this country's TV weather forecasters have increasingly taken to denying evidence that warming is affecting weather—or is even happening at all. Only 19 percent accept the established science that human activity is driving climate change, says a 2011 report by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, making TV meteorologists far more skeptical than the public at large."

Photo credit above: "Mark Johnson, meteorologist for WEWS ABC in Cleveland, Ohio. Johnson is one of several climate skeptic forecasts who says there is no convincing evidence of global warming."


The Climate Fixers. Is there a technological fix (or Bandaid) to climate change? The subject of geoengineering has been getting considerable traction in recent years - injecting chemicals into the atmosphere to counter observed warming. What can possibly go wrong? Here's an excerpt of a long, but excellent article at The New Yorker: "The heavy industrial activity of the previous hundred years had caused the earth’s climate to warm by roughly three-quarters of a degree Celsius, helping to make the twentieth century the hottest in at least a thousand years. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, however, reduced global temperatures by nearly that much in a single year. It also disrupted patterns of precipitation throughout the planet. It is believed to have influenced events as varied as floods along the Mississippi River in 1993 and, later that year, the drought that devastated the African Sahel. Most people considered the eruption a calamity. For geophysical scientists, though, Mt. Pinatubo provided the best model in at least a century to help us understand what might happen if humans attempted to ameliorate global warming by deliberately altering the climate of the earth. For years, even to entertain the possibility of human intervention on such a scale—geoengineering, as the practice is known—has been denounced as hubris."

Photo credit above: "Geoengineering holds out the promise of artificially reversing recent climate trends, but it entails enormous risks." Illustration: The New Yorker.


To Repair The Shore, Or Retreat? Rising sea levels are already impacting the New York City area - here's an excerpt of a New York Times story focused on coastal Connecticut: "EIGHT months after Tropical Storm Irene slammed into Cosey Beach Avenue in East Haven, ripping off parts of some houses and washing others away, many property owners are still adrift.  “Some have been able to rebuild, but others don’t have the resources,” said State Senator Len Fasano, a Republican whose district includes East Haven. “A lot of these homes have been passed down from generation to generation. A few people have cleaned up their lot, removed the debris and put their property up for sale.”


Opinion. World's Faith Groups Agree That Climate Change Is A Growing Concern. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at "Late last year, my mother asked me to make a collection of statements by various faith groups on the subject of climate change. She volunteers for the Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), an international, nonpartisan, nonprofit group that is urging Congress to pass legislation to curb U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. CCL foresaw that the world’s religious communities might be a valuable ally. I agreed to take on this task and began by looking up a number of Christian and Jewish groups on the internet."

Photo credit above: . "An iceberg is seen in Disko Bay, Greenland above the arctic circle in this 2005 file photo."


An Open Letter To State Farm About Climate Denial. Here's a post from Shawn Lawrence Otto at Neorenaissance: "Climate science professor Scott Mandia has been insured by State Farm Insurance for 21 years, but when he read that State Farm has apparent given hundreds of thousands of dollars (PDF) to climate denial propaganda outfit The Heartland Institute, he began to question his loyalty to the insurer.  Last week, Heartland rolled out a hate-oriented billboard campaign that compared scientists, science organizations, and federal agencies who acknowledge that science suggests human behavior is warming the planet to "murderers and madmen" like Charles Manson and Osama bin Laden."


State Farm Ends Support Of Heartland Institute. Kudos to State Farm! More on their Facebook Page.


Heartland's Unabomber Fiasco Is Par For The Course. Here's a snippet from "So, the Heartland Institute has battle fatigue, and that’s what drove it to erect a billboard along a suburban Chicago expressway with the Unabomber’s mugshot and the caption, “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” That’s what serial Heartland apologist Anthony Watts says: the make-believe “think tank” is shell-shocked, and that’s why they’re behaving strangely. Hmmm…  I’d have thought that if anyone should be suffering battle fatigue, it’s the scientists and reporters who receive the hate-mail and death threats fueled by Heartland’s campaign of distortion and innuendo."


Climate Ship Plots Course Through The Battering Waves. Here's an excerpt of a BBC story: "Last December's UN climate summit, in the South African port of Durban, saw heated discussions on a proposal that governments should commit to agreeing a new comprehensive global emissions-limiting deal with some kind of legal force before 2015. Reluctant nations found themselves up against a burgeoning coalition of principally small countries from the developed and developing worlds alike, which found common interest in tackling climate change as quickly as possible. The rainbow coalition included the EU, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), small islands vulnerable to impacts such as rising sea levels, and progressive Latin American countries such as Costa Rica."

Photo credit: AFP.


Sales of Hybrid, Electric Cars Take Off. An update from "When a new hybrid Prius is delivered to the Rockingham Toyota Scion dealership in Salem, N.H., it sells almost immediately. "Every time we get one on the lot, it lasts about five hours," said Marc Smith, the general sales manager. "Most times, it's gone before it even reaches the dealership." High gas prices and consumers' desire for greener vehicles are driving sales of efficient gas, hybrid and electric cars, dealers and customers said."


Are We In The Midst Of A Sixth Mass Extinction? Tuesdays are tough enough - now I have to worry about another mass extinction - thanks Paul. Here's a blurb from a New York Times article: "NEARLY 20,000 species of animals and plants around the globe are considered high risks for extinction in the wild. That’s according to the most authoritative compilation of living things at risk — the so-called Red List maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This should keep us awake at night. By generalizing from the few groups that we know fairly well — amphibians, birds and mammals — a study in the journal Nature last year concluded that if all species listed as threatened on the Red List were lost over the coming century, and that rate of extinction continued, we would be on track to lose three-quarters or more of all species within a few centuries."


Petroleum Companies Urged To Increase Adoption Of American-Made Renewable Energy. Here's an excerpt of a story from "Washington, DC - Agriculture Secretary Vilsack called on petroleum companies to help increase the percentage of ethanol in America's gas tanks in order to reduce dependence on foreign oil, boost job creation and promote development of renewable energy from farm-produced feedstocks. Recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action approved the use of E15, a fuel blend that is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, up from the current 10 percent blend level."

Meteorological March Madness Returns This Week (on track for an historic winter)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: February 11, 2012 - 9:54 PM

21 F. high temperature in the metro area on Saturday.

28 F. average high for February 11.

32 F. high temperature a year ago in the Twin Cities, on February 11, 2011.

Trace of snow so far this month at KMSP.

3" snow should have fallen during the first 10 days of February. Source: NOAA.

11" snow on the ground last year at this time in the metro area.

15" snow on the ground on February 11, 2010.


-32 F. coldest wind chill in Minnesota Friday morning (Appleton). The complete list from the local NWS here.

+1 F. low in the metro Saturday morning. That means we've only experienced 3 subzero nights so far this winter. Average is 28. Although subzero lows are possible into the first half of March I have a hunch we may have seen our last subzero readings of what is turning into the tamest winter in 134 years.


Snow on the ground 1 year ago today:

18" Chicago

13" Milwaukee

11" Twin Cities

* all 3 metro areas reported 0" on the ground as of Friday morning.


Duluth Sunrise. Thanks to WeatherNation meteorologist Todd Nelson, who's spending some quality time up in Duluth, where there's precious little snow (or ice) to be found.


+1 F. low temperature reported at KMSP Saturday morning. The combination of no snow, the urban heat island, a light breeze (and a higher sun angle) kept the mercury above zero at Twin Cities International Airport, where the offical temperature records are kept. That means only 3 subzero nights so far this winter, the second fewest since 1872.

2 subzero nights the Winter of 2001-2002. Fewest on record since 1872.

0 number of additional subzero nights expected looking out the next 2 weeks, through the end of February.


"When in a drought don't predict rain....or snow." - old proverb attributed to farmers. How true.


Wimpy Winters Since 1872. The list above was compiled by the Minnesota State Climate Office.



A Winter To RememberSecond Warmest Meteorological Winter On Record. Here are details from Pete Boulay at the Minnesota State Climate Office: "The balmy winter of 2011-12 continues to march on. February has continued the above normal temperatures and so far from December 1 to February 7 the average temperature in the Twin Cities is 27 degrees, or 9.3 degrees above normal. If meteorological winter finished on February 7, the winter of 2010-2011 would be in second place behind the winter of 1877-78. February would have to continue to remain much above normal for the Meteorological Winter to finish second warmest. As of February 7, the average temperature in the Twin Cities for the month of February is 29.9 degrees.

* "meteorological winter" is defined as the 90 coldest days of the year, on average, running from December 1 through March 1.


Warm Weather Records This Winter. 5 records so far at KMSP. Data above courtesy of the Minnesota State Climate Office.


Cold, But (Relatively) Safe. According to NOAA's NCDC division Minnesota experienced 9-16 billion dollar disasters in the 31 years since 1980. That's about a quarter the number of billion dollar weather disasters over the south central and southeastern USA - vulnerable to not only flooding and tornadoes but hurricanes as well.


Billion Dollar Weather Disasters Since 1980. Is the increase simply the result of more people living in vulnerable areas (in tornado/hurricane alley - in the flood plain, etc.) or is there something more in play? Is the 4% increase in water vapor loading the dice in favor of more weather extremes? 2011 saw 14 separate billion dollar weather disasters, the most since 9 in 2008. Source: NCDC.


Miami Sunrise. Yep, a few days in Miami Beach (or Dubuque for that matter) would cure me. Thanks to Bay Scroggins, who lives in Miami and studies tropical weather patterns for a living. Must be nice huh?


More Like Mid March Than Mid February. We just experienced the coldest cold front of February, which, in the chilled reflection of our rear-view mirror, wasn't all that bad. 36 hours of moderate pain. A Pacific breeze resumes this week, meaning highs in the mid 30s to near 40 every day this week, starting tomorrow. By next weekend there will be precious little snow left - just a few pathetic piles of grizzled snow.


Measuring Ice - How Do You Know It's Safe? The Brainerd Dispatch has a good video covering how officials determine if the ice is safe enough. The YouTube video is here: "Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl displayed the ice thickness at 18 inches in the second hole drilled by the sheriff's office Thursday. The first hole was measured at 17 inches. After the two holes were cut, Dahl confirmed the permit to run the contest would be issued this afternoon."


Read more here:

                                              2012                                                                                             2011



Latest USA Snowcover. According toNOAA 28.4% of the USA is covered in snow, compared to last year, when 64.9% of America was snowcovered. Average snow depth now: 3" (nationwide). Average snow depth a year ago: 8.3"


Snowfall Forecast Through Midday Thursday. The latest GFS model prints out a couple inches of wet snow across Iowa tomorrow, a coating of flakes may dust a few lawns over far southern Minnesota. Other than that - more lake effect snows, especially downwind of Lake Erie.


Planting In Spring? According to the MN State Climate Office "meteorological winter" (since December 1) has been the warmest since 1877-78. Dr. Mark Seeley has more on the mythical "Year Without A Winter" (1877-78) in this week's WeatherTalk blog: "Historical records show that February of 1878 was so mild that many Minnesota farmers were in their fields planting small grains (wheat, barely, oats). Soils had thawed and were not too wet to till. Many observers reported temperatures in the 40s and 50s F for half the days of the month. It is the only time in Minnesota history, that much of the state was planted in the month of February." Photo credit here.

Winter Snowfall Amounts (courtesy of Mark Seeley):

MSP 14.9 inches (2nd lowest total behind 1930-1931 when 14.2 inches fell)
Austin 13.2 inches (lowest since winter of 1976-1977)
Zumbrota 12.8 inches (lowest since winter of 1962-1963)
St Cloud 16.2 inches (lowest since 1967-1968)


Europe Emerges From The Deep Freeze. Here's a good summary of the record cold gripping much of Europe and Asia, courtesy of NASA's Earth Observatory: "Rare snowstorms in Rome and Tripoli and mounting death tolls from exposure were among the consequences of a severe cold snap in Europe in late January and early February 2012. Meteorologist Jeff Masters described it as Europe’s worst stretch of cold weather since February 1991. This map above shows temperature anomalies for Europe and western Russia from January 25 to February 1, 2012, compared to temperatures for the same dates from 2001 to 2011. The anomalies are based on land surface temperatures observed by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. Areas with above-average temperatures appear in red and orange, and areas with below-average temperatures appear in shades of blue. Oceans and lakes appear in gray."


Last Few Days Of February: Late March Time Warp. The only way I can describe what I'm seeing is that we've skipped a month, and it's mid March. The 500mb GFS forecast for February 27 shows a powerful westerly wind flow, the pattern favoring big storms for California (which will probably track south of Minnesota, like they have been for most of the winter. If there is a cold bias the last few days of February it will be over New England. Yep, the maps look like mid/late March.


Welcome To Memphis!  Expect 30s and 40s the last week of February - 50 not out of the question around February 23 if you believe the GFS. Yesterday's hints of snow have magically vanished - storms detouring south of Minnesota. I fear the drought is going to get worse as we sail into March. Will a few tournament storms save us? Possible, but looking at the trends, I wouldn't bet on it.


Adios La Nina: Quieter Hurricane Season? La Nina cooling phases of the Pacific correlate with a more active hurricane season (lighter winds over the tropics produce ripe conditions for T-storms to strengthen into tropical storms). Now that La Nina is forecast to wane during the spring months, that may be good news for people living along America's vulnerable coastlines. ABC News reports: "Those cooler-than-normal tropical Pacific ocean temperatures known as La Niña are expected to weaken and dissipate this spring, government forecasters said today. La Niña — or the lack of it — could mean good news when it comes to the upcoming hurricane season, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s National Climate Prediction Center. “If we have La Niña, that would argue for an active hurricane season. If you take it away, maybe it takes away some of the activity,” Halpert tells ABC News." Map above courtesy of NOAA.


Farmers Likely To Plant Record Acreage, Analysts Say. The story from Bloomberg News and "Farmers will plant the most acres in a generation this year, led by the biggest corn crop since World War II, taking advantage of the highest agricultural prices in at least four decades. They will sow corn, soybeans and wheat on 226.9 million acres, the most since 1984, a Bloomberg survey of 36 farmers, bankers and analysts showed. The 2.5 percent gain means an expansion the size of New Jersey, as growers target fields left fallow last year and land freed up from conservation programs."

Photo credit above: "Analysts predict farmers will plant the most acres in a generation this year, led by the biggest corn crop since World War II. Illustrates PLANTING (category f), by Jeff Wilson and Whitney McFerron (c) 2012, Bloomberg News. Moved Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. (Bloomberg News photo by Daniel Acker)."


U.S. Farm Facts. We should all get down on our hands and knees daily and thank farmers for taking incalculable risk to grow the food most of the world needs to survive. No other country on Earth does it better. Weather is, of course, the biggest agricultural wildcard. I hope the drought comes to an end soon, but my gut is telling me otherwise. I thought this was interesting, courtesy of

  • To keep up with population growth more food will have to be produced in the next 50 years as the past 10,000 years combined.

  • Today, the average U.S. farmer feeds 155 people. In 1960, a farmer fed just 26 people.

  • Today’s farmer grows twice as much food as his parents did – using less land, energy, water and fewer emissions.

  • American farmers ship more than $100 billion of their crops and products to many nations.

  • U.S. farmers produce about 40 percent of the world's corn, using only 20 percent of the total area harvested in the world.


Q&A For Paul

Hi Paul -

Love reading your blog!  My question/suggestion is this-- why not go back and re-examine all those predictions for winter that were floating about in October/November?  Like the Farmer's Almanac, etc.-- this crazy winter we've had seems like a good (although unusual) example to test against all the "expert" opinions months ago...

Thanks for all your posts-- I love being able to get a more ind-depth view of our weather!

Eric Wilcox


Eric - thanks for your kind words; they are greatly appreciated. I realize I spend way too much time on these blogs, but it's a labor of love. During the course of a business day I accumulate headlines, forecast oddities, special URLs and links, funny video clips and nuggets of geeky trivia, and I try to include the stuff that makes me do a double-take. Wherever possible I include the actual links so (you) can do more exploring and discovering, which is what makes the web so amazing (and hopelessly addictive).

O.K. Your question hits a sensitive nerve, because EVERYONE was pretty much predicting a colder, snowier winter (based on La Nina lingering through the winter). I went out on a smal limb and - in October - predicted colder and drier, thinking the drought would continue, neutralizing any impact of La Nina. I think everyone, including NOAA's CPC (Climate Prediction Center) has been humbled by the level of warmth, nationwide, this winter. La Nina events correlate with colder, snowier weather over the northern tier states, but this is shaping up to be one of the 10 warmest winters the USA has experienced since the mid 1800s - more like a strong El Nino winter (1998 comes to mind). Mea culpa - it shows the inherent perils in predicting the weather for an entire season. We can look at what's happening in the Pacific and current/predicted blocking patterns (like the AO and NAO, even look for signs of impending arctic air (like sudden stratospheric warming), but in the end it's all hanging by a threat. Think of a 3-6 month weather forecast much the way you would a horoscope. Fun to look at, but the science is sketchy - don't bet the farm based on a 1-6 month outlook!


Hi, Paul!

Will WeatherNation be seen on local Comcast cable?  I live in Crystal...hope to be able to see it.

George Carden

George - thanks for taking an interest in WeatherNation, our new, national weather channel that will be available shortly on KARE 11.2. That means free, over the air, as well as local cable systems. Yes, we will be on the local Comcast systems, as well as Mediacom and Charter. Stay tuned for more launch details.



Any chance you were awake this morning (Friday morning) around 1:15?  I swear I heard thunder.  I suppose it could have been the front moving through, because the wind did kick up significantly, but it sure did sound like a 15-20 second long thunder rumble.




Larry - not sure what you heard, but it probably wasn't thunder. Winds gusted over 35 mph with the arctic front - it must have been the roar of the wind through the trees. It's rare to get thunderstorms with air temperatures much below 40-50 F. When it's this cold there isn't nearly enough moisture or instability to support the violent upward motion necessary for thunder and lightning. Give it about 30-45 days. At the rate we're going I wouldn't be surprised to see the first T-storms by late March. Let's hope the drought comes to an end, and soon.


Hi Paul!

I get really annoyed when the weather report is wrong. Like the time I planned a garage sale because the forecast was for sunny skies. It poured all day. Boy was I mad! So my question is this. Isn't there a way to rank weather forecasters by accuracy? Like, whose forecast has been closest to the actual weather? Has anyone done this? If I know this I will know where to get my weather report.

Joan Philips

Falcon Heights, MN

Joan - I share your angst, and need to tread carefully here. The sad truth: every meteorologist has good days and bad days. It's a steep learning curve. Anyone can trumpet their best forecasts (and sweep their "busts" under the carpet), but that's pretty dishonest. Personally, I'm partial to Belinda Jensen on KARE-11 (full disclosure: I helped to hire her), but I think the Channel 11 team does a consistently excellent job with the weather. We're lucky: everyone on the air here in the Twin Cities is a professional meteorologist, meaning they went to a 4-year college to learn their stuff. That said, the only way to become a forecaster is to make predictions, get it wrong, and learn from your mistakes over time. Painful at times. There's a company called WeatherRate that goes into specific markets around the USA and runs surveys to try to determine who is most accurate, but I honestly don't know if they do this for the Twin Cities, or if they publish their results. Again, as tedious as this might be, my suggestion is to watch (everyone). See how they do, but don't judge them on one forecast. Snow is the most difficult phenomenon to predict. See who does the best job with the next storm (if it ever snows here again). Over time you'll get a pretty good feel of who does the best job with the forecast. And I'd encourage you to include the Star Tribune weather videos, which are updated frequently during the day. I'm biased, but I think my team of 11 meteorologists at Broadcast Weather do a very good job with Minnesota's ever-changing weather. Thanks for a good question.



7 Inch iPad Again Said To Be Nearing Launch. has the details: "Apple is once again rumored to be going against the wishes of late co-founder Steve Jobs as it prepares to launch a 7-inch version of its popular iPad tablet. While speaking with Computerworld, Technology Business Research analyst Ezra Gottheil said that Apple may be preparing to launch two new products following the imminent release of the iPad 3. One is a case accessory that includes an integrated wireless keyboard, and the second is the oft-rumored iPad mini, which the analyst says will launch later this year."


"Siri Is Trying To Kill Me!" OK, I saw this on CNN, thought if was pretty funny - reminds me of HAL in 2001, A Space Odyssey. What happens if there's a bug, a virus, and Siri (Apple's voice recognition program) goes crazy? The YouTube clip has been viewed over 6 million times - it's worth a look. Rated PG for some salty language.


Whitney Houston 1963-2012. It seems surreal that Whitney Houston is gone - what an amazing talent she was. Back in the early 90s I had a brush with fame, a strange and wonderful personal encounter with Whitney Houston. We were staying at the Grand Wailea on Maui (which has an incredible series of pools and water parks - it's a AAA+ destination for familiies with kids for this reason, among others). So I'm standing near the entrance to the "rapids" and I notice a woman coming down the flume, being trailed by an enormous guy in a suit and tie. A stalker? I couldn't tell, but it was unsettling. She comes to the surface, stands up in front of me, and I realize "this is Whitney Houston." She smiles and asks me how to navigate the rapids, which side to go down. I'm in a mild state of shock, but mumble an incoherent answer. She smiles and swims into the rapids (as instructed) - the entire time the (body guard) is standing 4 feet away, glaring at me. Not much of a story, I guess, but in that chance encounter I saw a sparkle in her eyes, the real Whitney Houston. No make-up, no pretense; she was confident, but incredibly kind and down to earth, and I'll never forget this odd, chance encounter with one of the greatest singers...ever.. Rest in peace Whitney.


Climbing Out Of A Hole. After a subzero start across much of Minnesoeta (-2 at St. Cloud, -3 Redwood Falls, -6 at Alexandria) temperatures recovered a bit under blue sky. Afternoon highs ranged from a brisk 13 at Crystal to 18 St. Cloud, 21 in the Twin Cities.



Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:


TODAY: Bright sun, average again. Winds: W 8-13. High: 26


SUNDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase. Low: 15


MONDAY: Snow stays south; few flurries possible. High: 32


TUESDAY: More sun, quite mild. Low: 19. High: 35


WEDNESDAY: Feels like an early March. More sun. Low: 23. High: 41


THURSDAY: Slightly cooler, passing flakes. Low: 24. High: 35


FRIDAY: Mostly cloudy, flurries possible. Low: 19. High: 32


SATURDAY: More sun, pleasant for February. Low: 22. High: 36


* temperatures may reach the low to mid 40s next Sunday.



'Snow Joke

The last time I checked the research, weather was still the number one reason why Americans tuned into local TV news, even in dull weather towns like L.A. and Phoenix. Why do you think they save the weather segment 'til the end of the news?

Big storms drive eyeballs; the snowier the weather, the higher the ratings. So this winter's lack of "weather" has been bad news for local media. "Paul, can't you kick the Doppler, pull a lever - you know - make it snow?"

Can you imagine if we really had the power to change the weather? Then again, it would be impossible to keep everyone happy. Come to think of it, considering liabilities involved, it would be a company made up entirely of lawyers. Large scale weather modification is still science fiction, thank God.

A lack of snow, along with the urban heat island (and a higher sun angle) led to a low of 1 F. Saturday morning at KMSP. We've only endured 3 subzero nights, second fewest since 1872. Warmest meteorological winter since 1878 - least snow since 1930-31 (14.9 inches). 5 separate records. Historic.

30s return this week; highs top 40 Wednesday, again on Sunday. Any storms will sail south of Minnesota. Deja vu all over again.

* photo above courtesy of Media Bistro.


Climate Stories....


Where The U.S. Solar Industry Is Shining. Bloomberg Businessweek has the details: "There’s at least one bright spot in the troubled U.S. solar industry. After a plunge in prices sent panel manufacturers reeling, consumer demand for the alternative energy is soaring. That’s a boon for California companies such as SunRun, SolarCity, and Sungevity. These startups are buying panels at depressed prices and leasing them to homeowners at little or no up-front cost. By teaming up with lenders such as Bank of America (BAC) and U.S. Bancorp (USB) and taking advantage of a federal tax credit for renewable energy, installers can bring down the costs of panels, which for a home typically run between $30,000 to $40,000, and help consumers and businesses reduce the use of fossil fuels. Their success is helping revive the solar industry, which gained notoriety last year from the collapse of panel maker Solyndra."

Photo credit above: "The sun shines above the field of mirrors that make up the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012. Energy Secretary Steven Chu toured the facility on Thursday before hosting a town hall with university students. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)."


Senator Amy Klobuchar Champions Bipartisan Solutions To Our Energy And Environmental Problems. Here's a blog post at Fresh Energy: "On February 9, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D – Minnesota) addressed one of her top priorities in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate (watch the video at the bottom of this post):

“…the critical need to get serious about building a new energy agenda for America, one that keeps our businesses competitive in the global economy, preserves our environment and restarts the engine that has always kept our country moving forward, that is innovation.”

She spoke in support of energy tax credits, including extending the production tax credit that made it possible for wind energy to account for over one-third of all new electricity generation capacity installed in the United States in 2011."


Mann Details Intricacies, Ethics Surrounding Climate Change. Here's an excerpt of an article from the Centre Daily Times: "Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann said climate change is often framed as a scientific or economic problem, but it’s also an ethical question. “ Mann, who has been a magnet for criticism, gave the talk at The Penn Stater as part of the university’s forum lunch series. A professor of meteorology known for the “hockey stick” chart on global warming, Mann was part of the team that won a Nobel Prize. He has also been one of the scientists caught up in the “climategate” scandal that followed the release of more than 1,000 emails scientists exchanged......Some of our detractors like to make it like climate science is some sort of lovefest, but it’s not. It’s much more like a street fight,” Mann said. “Scientists — I speak as one — we’re often very opinionated, and we like to be right. And we love to try to prove the other person wrong. “That’s one of the things that makes science the self-correcting process that it is.”


The U.N. Is "Scaremongering" Over Climate Change, Says Energy Boss. Wow - this is pretty unusual, coming from an energy company. I think the ongoing denial (campaign) reflects the fear that laws will be passed preventing energy companies from extracting and burning more coal, gas and oil. That could cost energy companies (and their shareholders) trillions of dollars. There's no question the world needs ever-more energy to fuel growth (and consumption) but just ignoring the science probably isn't the best course of action. No, green energy can't provide all our energy needs today, or even the foreseeable future, but if the proper incentives are put into place, the markets will respond. Less government, more market-driven solutions. I hope that's the direction we go, but who knows? Here's an excerpt of a story in the U.K. Express: "An energy firm boss last night accused the United Nations of “scaremongering” over climate change. Chemist Fritz Vahrenholt, of German company RWE, said global warming arguments are supported by “weak science”. He claims reduced solar activity will end up causing the earth to cool down in years to come rather than get hotter. “The climate catastrophe is not occurring,” he said. “In my experience as an energy expert, I learned that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is more of a political than a scientific body."


Read more here:

Read more here:

Scientists Melt Mystery Over Icecaps And Sea Levels. Reuters has the story: "U.S. scientists using satellite data have established a more accurate figure of the amount of annual sea level rise from melting glaciers and ice caps which should aid studies on how quickly coastal areas may flood as global warming gathers pace. John Wahr of the University of Colorado in Boulder and colleagues, in a study published on Thursday, found that thinning glaciers and icecaps were pushing up sea levels by 1.5 millimeters (0.06 inches) a year, in line with a 1.2 to 1.8 mm range from other studies, some of which forecast sea levels could rise as much as 2 meters (2.2 yards) by 2100."


Major Tech Companies Leading The Fight Against Climate Change. The story from Huffington Post: "How are some of the world's biggest IT companies taking a stand against a climate change? A list released by Greenpeace this week ranks some of the world's largest information technology companies based on their efforts to mitigate climate change. The fifth edition of the Cool IT Leaderboard puts Google at the top, with Cisco and Ericsson grabbing second and third. According to a press release, the list "ranks 21 IT companies on their clean energy leadership potential, willingness to embrace clean energy solutions and potential to influence energy decisions."


Volunteers Plug Holes In the Climate Records. Here's an interesting story from Scientific American: "Kathy Wendolkowski used to make candy in her spare time. for the past year and a half, this mother of three from Gaithersburg, Md., has been spending two to three hours a day on the Web site Old Weather ( There she transcribes temperature, pressure and wind-speed records from the logbooks of HMS Foxglove, a British minesweeper that patrolled the South Pacific in the years following World War I. It was a friend, a naval historian, who told her about the site soon after its launch in October 2010, Wendolkowski says."

Photo credit above: "HMS Foxglove was a British minesweeper that patrolled the South Pacific from 1915 to 1945. Image: Illustration by Mark Weaver. National Archives, England (ship and logbook)."

Frost Advisory - Weekend Warming Trend (perfect Marathon weather)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: September 30, 2011 - 8:50 AM

66 F. high in the Twin Cities on Thursday.

52 mph wind gust at Crystal Airport, in Hennepin County, at 11:53 Thursday morning.

56 mph gust at Rochester and Hanley Falls (Yellow Medicine County) at 12:20 pm yesterday.

32 foot seas and wind gusts as high as 60-65 mph. predicted for Lake Superior through Friday morning.

Frost possible tonight in the suburbs, especially outside the 494/694 freeway.

Twin Cities Marathon Sunday: clear skies, light south winds at 10 mph, starting out near 42, reaching 62 by midday Sunday under sunny skies, highs in the low 70s by 4 pm. About as good as it ever gets in early October.

Ophelia: Category 2 hurricane with 105 mph winds - should track well east of the US coast, possibly hitting the Canadian Maritimes by Monday.


Frost Potential. The NWS has issued a frost advisory for the northern and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities and much of central/southern Wisconsin. If you live more than 15-20 miles away from downtown St. Paul or Minneapolis you may experience a light frost by daybreak Saturday.


Alberta Clipper. Named after the clipper ships of the 1830s and 1840s (fastest vessels on the high seas, capable of forward speeds as high as 30 knots), Thursday's Alberta Clipper whipped up a few hours of rain and tropical storm force wind gusts. Unlike last week's stationary closed low - this clipper will keep on (clipping) southeast, a ridge of high pressure resulting in bright sun and less wind today.


Next Chance Of Significant Rain. It's a dry forecast for most of the Upper Midwest through at least Thursday of next week. The map above shows moderate to heavy rain with a vigorous cold frontal passage a week from today - the next chance of widespread rain.


Ophelia Becomes The 4th Named Hurricane of 2011. Only 2005 had more named hurricanes than 2011. This year has seen the second greatest number of named storms on record, according to NHC. Ophelia is a Category 2 hurricane, packing 105 mph. sustained winds.


Early Snow For New England? It's not definite (yet), but the long-range GFS model is hinting at some 1-2" snowfall amounts for northern New York State. That's early - the average date of the first (measureable) snowfall in the Catskills is around November 5.


"...Rob Jackson, the director of the Duke Center on Global Change, acknowledges this backdrop of uncertainty. "Can anyone say with certainty that this is climate-change related? Absolutely not," he said. But Jackson -- who went to college and taught in Texas and continues to visit frequently to see family -- suggested that the scale of the Texas wildfires is starting to change the minds of some scientists who have traditionally been hesitant to blame specific weather events on climate change. "The heat and drought I saw in August is almost enough to make me say that climate change is playing a role, amplifying other factors," Jackson said. "I've never said that before about any weather event."- from a post below from Politifact.







New York State Rainfall Totals:

The NWS just released storm totals for counties in New York. Ulster county was hit hardest, getting almost 8 inches of rain in 24 hours.

   WEST SHOKAN           7.25   645 AM  9/29  WEATHERNET6
   PHOENICIA             6.13   608 AM  9/29  WEATHERNET6
   SAUGERTIES            2.99   650 AM  9/29  WEATHERNET6
   KINGSTON              1.24   437 AM  9/29  WEATHERNET6


Flood-Weary Pennsylvania Residents Deal With More Water. Rainfall across much of the Keystone State has been 2-5 times more than average for September, over a foot of water just this month. The Houston Chronicle has more details: "Flood watches remain in effect for much of flood-weary eastern Pennsylvania, where rising waters had some people fearing for their homes for a fourth time in a month. An area stretching from Philadelphia north to the New York border was forecast to get more rain Thursday and concerns over runoff prompted flash flood warnings. Some residents in Harveys Lake, Luzerne County were evacuated late Wednesday after water ran over the Twin Lakes dam. Harrisburg River Rescue retrieved about 10 people from homes in Swatara Township, where the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee caused extensive flood damage earlier this month. Flooding from Hurricane Irene late last month was followed by record flooding in many areas because of Lee. That flooding damaged thousands of buildings on a scale not seen since Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Further north in Huntingdon County, officials Wednesday declared a disaster emergency in Three Springs, Mount Union and Saltillo boroughs after flash flooding this week. More than 3 inches of rain fell in one 40-minute span, county emergency management director Adam Miller said Thursday." (photo above courtesy of the


Ophelia's Track. A Tropical Storm Watch is posted for Bermuda, but Ophelia should track east of the island. There's even a small chance it may reach Nova Scotia (Canada) as a weak, category 1 hurricane by Monday of next week. Map courtesy of NHC and Ham Weather.


Stressing Out. Here's an interesting post from the Iowa Environmental Mesonet: "This year has certainly seen its share of hot weather as compared with recent years. The featured chart presents two measures of heat stress. The top panel is the number of hours where the temperature was at or above 93 based on data from the Des Moines Airport sensor. The bottom panel presents the traditional stress degree days, which is a measure of the exceedance of 86 by the daily high temperature. For both measures, this year has been the warmest since the drought year of 1988. The largest values, by a large margin, on the chart are from the dust bowl in the 1930s."


Wednesday's Haboob In Arizona. More details courtesy of WJLA-TV: "As yet another dust storm swept over Arizona yesterday, a dozen grit-lost automobiles met on an interstate in an ear-shattering mass collision. They then sat there smoking for hours with emergency officials on hold until the air stopped resembling the inside of a vacuum bag. Haboobs are a regular feature of the Southwest Monsoon, a time of summer when high pressure gathering in the east Pacific Ocean directs waves of moist sea air northward. This year’s crop is a bit rowdier than usual, though. Stretching up to nearly a mile in some cases, they are arriving with regularity: Two alone have struck in the past four days. Yesterday’s was the fourth really big dust storm in Arizona this summer. It’s not uncommon for a handful to occur during an average year, but what is uncommon, as at least one meteorologist has noted, is the power of 2011′s haboobs. They have knocked down power poles and P.O.’d countless car buffs by painting their rides with desert dirt. Chalk up the dustiness of these particular haboobs to abnormally dry conditions in Arizona – the rainfall around Phoenix since last October is more than three-and-a-half inches below average."


Tornado On Humphrey's Peak (Arizona). Wait, a tornado at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet? Yep, according to the National Weather Service. Click here to read more about this rare (mountain) tornado. Some additional stats here:



State Of The Climate: August 2011. Data courtesy of NOAA's NCDC, National Climatic Data Center:

The NWS has released its state of the climate report for August. New York, New Jersey, Vermont, and New Hampshire had their wettest August on record, and the rest of the northeast had a top five wettest August.

At the other end of the spectrum, the South had one of its driest Augusts on record. The Texas drought has gotten so bad that tree rings, dating back to 1550, have shown that only one other summer has been this bad, which occurred in 1789.


A New Way To Improve Dust Storm Prediction Accuracy? The Air Force is doing some cutting edge research on dust storms, and trying to predict them in advance. It's obvious that military operations can be greatly impacted by blowing dust - getting a better handle on blowing dust can give commanders in the field an operational edge, as reported by the Laughlin Air Force Base: "The saying "leave it better than when you found it" is constantly used in the military with all the moving and relocating that is done. Staff Sgt. Thomas Jenkins, 47th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight NCO in charge of weather systems, did just that and more after a recent deployment to Iraq. Jenkins, while deployed to Forward Operating Base Kalsu, realized that a better method to predict dust storms could be developed. He decided to give himself a research project before devising a plan that ultimately improves dust storm forecasts accuracy rating by 80 percent. The Air Force recognized this achievement and are scheduled to begin training personnel and distributing to areas of responsibility that will benefit from the new tool. "We typically work with water based weather such as rain, snow and thunderstorms," he said. "When you're out in CENTOM (U.S. Central Command), you don't typically see that much, it's more blowing dust and sand storms. Because our models aren't built to work with that, it tends to be a little more unreliable than what your typical weather forecast would be. So I did about five months of field research looking for a way to take the tools we had and make them work better. I was able to come up with a math formula that accomplished that."


ISU-Texas Game To Be The "Wind Bowl". This makes sense, considering Texas and Iowa are America's two largest wind producing states. Here's the story from the Des Moines Register: "Befitting a matchup of universities from the two largest wind producing states in the U.S., the game between Iowa State and Texas Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames has been dubbed the “wind bowl” by the American Wind Energy Association. For the game, the stadium will be 100-percent powered by wind through the purchase of Green-e-certified Renewable Energy Certificates to offset energy used. The American Wind Energy Association and Iowa State’s College of Engineering will join MidAmerican Energy, ITC Midwest, and Siemens for live, on-field recognition of their work in wind power during a break in the game. While Iowa leads the nation in wind penetration, with about 4,200 megawatts of wind power deployed. Texas is tops in total wind installations, with over 10,000 MW deployed." (photo credit here).


Windy Day - May Blow Away! Speaking of wind, check out this cute YouTube clip: "Check out these dogs in Annandale, Minnesota.  This video is from Amy Sparks. She says “...very windy day of my two Havanese dogs, Jubilee & Posh in Annandale, MN at the municipal city park where they usually like to “run like hell” but couldn’t because they may have been blown away.” Yep, I hate it when my dog (Leo) blows away. He doesn't like it much either...


Kindle Fire vs. Apple iPad. What Amazon's Tablet Has That iPad Lacks. Here's more information on the new gadget (productivity device) from Huffington Post: "At first glance, the Amazon Kindle Fire doesn't appear to be an iPad killer. When you compare the hardware and technical specs of the new Amazon tablet next to those of the Apple tablet, there doesn't seem to be much of a comparison: Apple's 10-inch, 16GB iPad is a far cry from the 7-inch, 8GB first-generation Kindle Fire. And yet the fact is that, at the end of the day, they're both tablets, which means that consumers will probably be choosing between one or the other when it comes time to get a tablet. Unless you're doing really well this recession, it would be hard to justify shelling out money for both an iPad (starting at $499) and a Kindle Fire (which costs $199, less than half of what it costs for Apple's tablet)."

Amazon's Tablet Leads To Its Store. The New York Times has more information on the Amazon Fire here.


Clipped Again. A fast-moving Alberta Clipper brushed the metro with a trace of rain (and 50 mph wind gusts). Heavier rain fell over the Minnesota Arrowhead, .31" at Duluth and .28" at Hibbing. Highs were in the 60s statewide.



Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:


TODAY: Bright sun, less wind. Winds: North 10-20. High: 59


FRIDAY NIGHT: Clear and cool (peek at the Northern Lights?) Low: 40


SATURDAY: Blue sky, milder breeze. Winds: SE 10. High: 65


SUNDAY: Indian Summer. Peaking leaves! Blue sky, pretty close to perfect. Winds: S 10-15. Low: 49. High: 72


MONDAY: Still sunny and spectacular. Low: 56. High: 73


TUESDAY: More clouds, slightly cooler - few sprinkles/showers up north? Low: 54. High: 68


WEDNESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, windy. Low: 53. High: 72


THURSDAY: Clouds increase, still mild. Low: 55. High: near 70


* Long-range weather models are hinting at significant rain next Friday (October 7), followed by cooler, windier weather the weekend of October 8-9.




Close to Peak Color?

Quick question: what do you call 4 Vikings fans in your basement? A whine cellar. Thanks for coming folks! Have a safe drive home. These are frustrating times for Vikings fans, but they'll be back. Then again I am a hopelessly naive optimist.

Yesterday's hair-curling, eye-watering winds, associated with a vigorous Alberta Clipper, will ease up today. The NWS was predicting 32 foot seas on Lake Superior! Yes, the "Gales of November" came early.

Weather models hint at wet snow for upstate New York by Saturday, as the jet stream buckles, plunging November-like air into New England. In stark contrast a building ridge of high pressure plastered over the Upper Midwest should insure blue sky and mellowing temperatures; 70s return by Sunday. A word to the wise: if you're planning to set out in search of fall color consider going this weekend. According to the DNR, colors are peaking just north/west of the metro - all the way to Lake Superior's North Shore. Professional photographer Paul Sundberg says "the color at Oberg Mountain, in the Lutsen area, is the best I've seen in 10 years." Heavy rain is shaping up for the end of next week. By then we may be past peak. Check it out - soon.

* photo above courtesy of Paul Sundberg Photography.


Colbert: "Global Warming Is Real Folks". Here's a spot-on monologue from Stephen Colbert, courtesy of the New York Times and Comedy Central: "Stephen Colbert spent some time on Monday night, between Radiohead songs, dissecting realities on global warming and energy using very sharp satirical tools. Here’s one piercingly true line:

"In the face of all this mounting evidence, America has stood with one voice and boldly proclaimed: “Eh.”

After a performance by Radiohead, he sat with Thom Yorke and Ed O’Brien from the band and dug in again on Americans but also on how a rock band can square its carbon concerns with its energy needs (like a masterful juggler adding a ball in mid-performance, he threw in a jab at “clean coal” in the process)."


Climate Change Will Cost Canada Billions: Report. Here's the story from CTV Winnipeg: "Climate change will cost Canada about $5 billion a year by 2020, a startling new analysis commissioned by the federal government warns. Those costs will continue to climb, to between $21 billion and $43 billion a year by the 2050s, the report estimates. It all depends on how much action is taken to cut global greenhouse-gas emissions, as well as how fast the population and the economy grow too. In the worst-case scenario, climate change could cost as much as $91 billion per year by 2050. The report was issued Thursday morning by The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy. Its members are business leaders, academics and researchers who were chosen by the federal government to advise them on how to handle the climate change crisis, while also continuing to stimulate the economy. In its report, the think-tank projects the cost of climate change based on four scenarios, ranging from slow population and economic growth combined with low climate change, to rapid population and economic growth and high climate change."


President Obama Slams Rick Perry On Climate Change, Citing Texas Wildfires. How strong is the link between climate change and the record-setting wilfires that have swept across Texas this year? Here is a thorough piece from "During a Sept. 26, 2011, speech at a Democratic National Committee fundraising event in San Jose, Calif., President Barack Obama aimed some attack lines at the Republican Party. "Some of you here may be folks who actually used to be Republican but are puzzled by what’s happened to that party...." Obama said in comments that, according to the White House’s transcript, were punctuated by laughter. "I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change. No, no, it’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care, and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay. That’s not reflective of who we are. We’ve had differences in the past, but at some level we’ve always believed, you know what, that we’re not defined by our differences. We’re bound together." After several readers brought it to our attention, we zeroed in on Obama’s comment that "you’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change." The governor in question is Rick Perry of Texas -- one of the leading candidates in the Republican presidential primary and therefore a potential challenger to Obama in his bid for a second term next year. As for the fires Obama mentioned, Texas has been experiencing one of its most severe wildfire seasons in history.  According to the Texas Forest Service, 3.8 million acres burned and 2,742 homes were destroyed by wildfires between Nov. 15, 2010 and Sept. 26, 2011. A spokesman for Perry, Mark Miner, thought Obama’s comment was unfair, telling ABC News, "It’s outrageous President Obama would use … the worst fires in state history as a political attack." (photo courtesy of CBS News).

The Not-So-Green Mountains. Not everyone is enthusiastic about wind energy and wind turbines in their back yards. The reality? Every form of energy creation has it's own set of risks and challenges, including renewables. The New York Times has an Op-Ed focused on what wind power could mean for Vermont's Green Mountains: "Craftsbury, Vt.BULLDOZERS arrived a couple of weeks ago at the base of the nearby Lowell Mountains and began clawing their way through the forest to the ridgeline, where Green Mountain Power plans to erect 21 wind turbines, each rising to 459 feet from the ground to the tip of the blades. This desecration, in the name of “green” energy, is taking place in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom on one of the largest tracts of private wild land in the state. Here and in other places — in Maine and off Cape Cod, for instance — the allure of wind power threatens to destroy environmentally sensitive landscapes. Erecting those turbines along more than three miles of ridgeline requires building roads — with segments of the ridgeline road itself nearly half as wide as one of Vermont’s interstate highways — in places where the travel lanes are now made by bear, moose, bobcat and deer. It requires changing the profile of the ridgeline to provide access to cranes and service vehicles. This is being accomplished with approximately 700,000 pounds of explosives that will reduce parts of the mountaintops to rubble that will be used to build the access roads." (photo above courtesy of flickr).


Climate Change Threatens Yellowstone Region. Reuters has the story: "A warming climate is imperilling the wildlife and landscapes in the Yellowstone National Park region, two environmental groups said in a study. The report by Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and Greater Yellowstone Coalition shows temperatures in the past decade in the Yellowstone area have exceeded the rate of warming worldwide compared to the 20th Century average. Left unchecked, climate change is likely to transform the greater Yellowstone area, which includes parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana and encompasses two national parks, six national forests and three wildlife refuges, the report said.The Yellowstone National Park region is one of the world's last largely intact temperate ecosystems."


Climate Change Compounds Global Security Threat, British Admiral Says. The story from CNN: "Stresses from global climate change are increasing the threat of wars around the world, a British admiral said Wednesday. Royal Navy Rear Adm. Neil Morisetti told students and faculty at Georgia Institute of Technology that global climate change threats to food, water, land and energy will present substantive security challenges in regions of the world where there are already stresses. "Those climate stress multipliers are increasing the threat of armed conflict around the world," Morisetti said. Morisetti pointed out that existing stress points form a band around the globe, running from Central and South America, across Africa, the Middle East and south Asia. That band, he said, intersects with the regions of the globe most susceptible to climate change. With climate change, Morisetti said, "we're going to add more to that cocktail." Morisetti, who holds the title of the British government's climate and energy security envoy, is on a tour of the United States, speaking to academics and military officials. He says climate change represents a significant challenge for governments because the "new and emerging threat doesn't fit into the traditional stovepipe of governments. "It's a threat that won't manifest for the next 15 to 20 years, which means that you have to look at potential threats, not particular threats."


Climate Change Scenarios Confirm Warming. Here's a look at how climate change is impacting Switzerland, courtesy of "Average temperatures and extreme weather events are set to increase in Switzerland, a climate change report has found. In the best case scenario – supposing a strong reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades – temperatures would still rise by nearly two degrees celsius by the end of the century. In the worst case, average seasonal temperatures would rise by nearly five degrees. Using a new generation of global and European-scale regional climate models, Swiss Climate Change Scenarios CH2011 presents three different possible effects on temperatures and precipitation resulting from three greenhouse gas emissions scenarios."

Hurricane Irene: The Next Billion Dollar Weather Disaster? (severe threat shifts into Wisconsin)

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 23, 2011 - 12:52 PM

85 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.

Wind damage reported in Bloomington and Prior Lake from early morning storms, wind gusts to 60 mph. at Buffalo.

Slight severe threat today - watches and warnings likely, mainly over Wisconsin.

70-74 F. dew points possible by afternoon.

Half as much water in the air Wednesday as dew points drop into the 50s.


135 mph winds: NHC's latest forecast for sustained winds in the eye-wall of Hurricane Irene before it comes ashore late this week (most likely landfall somewhere along the Carolinas coast). Map above courtesy of Ham Weather.

* Irene is moving slightly slower - it may still be just off the Carolina coast (packing 135 mph winds) by Day 5 (Saturday).

* Average margin of error for a 4-day hurricane track: 200 miles. 5-day margin of error: 250 miles (NHC).




Will Irene Take A Track Similar To "Floyd" Back In 1999? Hurricane Floyd turned into a category 4 monster; here are a few highlights from this storm:

* Third largest evacuation in US history
* Among the largest Atlantic hurricanes of its strength ever recorded
* 57 fatalities and $4.5 billion (1999 USD; $5.93 billion 2011 USD) in damage
* At that time, the deadliest hurricane since Hurricane Agnes in 1972


Landfall: Saturday? The exact timing (and intensity) is still very much up in the air, but "Irene" may slam into the coastal Carolinas as a major category 3 or 4 storm, fueled by unusually warm Gulf Stream water. GFS map above valid 1 pm Saturday.


A (Weakened) Hurricane For New York City? The GFS model, valid Monday morning at 7 am, shows Irene very close to New York City, and it may still be a minimal hurricane. The reason? Much of the storm's circulation will remain over warm Gulf Stream waters, preventing the storm from weakening rapidly. This could be a worst-case scenario: a single hurricane capable of impacting 75-100 million Americans from the Carolinas, up the heavily populated eastern seaboard into New England. If this forecast pans out (not even close to a certainty at this point) Irene may be America's next billion dollar disaster.

51 days above 100 at Oklahoma City as of Monday afternoon. The old record for the most days/row above 100 was 50, set in 1980 (courtesy of Mark Vogan).


Tuesday Severe Threat. An eastbound cool front will provide the trigger necessary for strong/severe storms from the Twin Cities, Dubuque and Eau Clarie to Milwaukee, rockford and Chicago, according to SPC.


135 MPH Winds? Hurricane Watches are already posted for the Bahamas - I expect a Hurricane Watch to be issued for the east coast of Florida later today, possibly coastal Georgia and the Carolinas by tonight or first thing Wednesday. Here's Monday night's 11 pm discussion from NHC, which is now predicting Hurricane Irene to become a major category 3 storm with sustained winds close to 135 mph Thursday evening before weakening slight and coming ashore sometime Saturday - most likely between Savannah, Charleston and Wilmington, North Carolina.


1100 PM AST MON AUG 22 2011





INIT  23/0300Z 19.9N  69.2W   85 KT 100 MPH
 12H  23/1200Z 20.4N  70.6W   95 KT 110 MPH
 24H  24/0000Z 21.1N  72.4W  105 KT 120 MPH
 36H  24/1200Z 22.2N  74.2W  110 KT 125 MPH
 48H  25/0000Z 23.5N  75.6W  110 KT 125 MPH
 72H  26/0000Z 26.5N  78.0W  115 KT 135 MPH
 96H  27/0000Z 30.0N  79.0W  105 KT 120 MPH
120H  28/0000Z 33.5N  78.5W  100 KT 115 MPH


Hurricane Irene. As of late Tuesday night Irene had strengthened into a category 2 hurricane, with sustained winds of 100 mph, the core of the storm staying over water, passing just north of Hispaniola. Enhanced IR satellite loop courtesy of WSI's


Hurricane Irene: Projected Track. There is fairly good agreement among the dozens of weather models out thru 72 hours - a direct strike is most likely along the Carolina coast, but eastern Florida is hardly out of the woods just yet. Models do a better job with the track than with intensity. According to NHC the accuracy for predicting landfall 4 days away is plus or minus 200 miles.


Landfall: More Likely Scenario. Althought the projected path has shifted slightly left (west) landfall is most likely along the Carolina coast, possibly Charleston or Myrtle Beach, possibly Hilton Head, with landfall now pushed back until sometime Saturday. The model above shows sustained winds close to 109 mph before landfall Saturday afternoon at 2 pm. Map courtesy of NHC and Ham Weather.


Landfall: Less Likely Scenario. The GFDL track has been consistently farther west (and more intense). The model is predicting 150 mph winds near Miami by 2 am Friday morning. As unlikely as this scenario is - we can't rule it out altogether. Why?

1). Unusually warm Gulf Stream water: temperatures ranging from 85-88. The warmer the water, the greater the potential for rapid intensification.

2). Little or no wind shear: A ridge of high pressure above the Bahamas should ensure favorable conditions for rapid strengthening - any winds aloft can shred a hurricane's circulation and prevent it from becoming a major storm.


Hurricane Irene Puts Puerto Rick Into State Of Emergency. More details from CBC News in Canada: "Hurricane Irene cut power to more than a million people in Puerto Rico, downing trees and flooding streets, before heading out over warm ocean water Monday on a path that could take it to the U.S. mainland by the end of the week. There were no reports of deaths or major injuries, but Gov. Luis Fortuno declared a state of emergency and urged people to stay indoors to avoid downed power lines, flooded streets and other hazards. "This isn't the time to go out to find out what happened ... This is the time stay in your homes," Fortuno said at a news conference. Schools and many businesses in the U.S. island territory are closed as crews began assessing the damage. The governor said people should avoid going out because of the danger posed by fallen live power lines and other hazards. He says he doesn't yet know when power will be restored." (satellite image courtesy of NOAA).

Rainfall Amounts For Puerto Rico (courtesy of NOAA):

  • (Sunday morning through Monday morning)
  • 10.51”  Naguabo
  • 8.34”  Luquillo
  • 7.77”  Las Piedras
  • 7.41”  Ceiba
  • 5.78”  Canovanas


More On Hurricane Irene. We use cutting-edge weather graphics from Baron Services in Huntsville (OMNI and Vipir). Here is a late Monday discussion about Irene from meteorologist Kevin Nugent at Baron Services - where he talks about the growing probability that Irene will grow into a major (category 3 plus) hurricane in the coming days.

Baron Tropical Weather Discussion

Issued:  August  22nd, 2011          

Time:    8:00pm (CDT)

Storm:   Hurricane Irene

Storm Discussion:

"Hurricane Irene has rapidly strengthened this evening. Maximum sustained winds are now at 100 mph, a Category 2,  as the storm slowly moves to the NW at 10mph away from Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. Radar data from Puerto Rico also show that the storm has become better organized. An eye feature, though on the edge of the radar,  has become more distinct the past few hours . IR satellite continues to show a small central dense overcast with strong convection. The heaviest of the weather associated with Irene has remained just off the north coast of Hispaniola as surface obs have shown winds below tropical storm force the past few hours and the CDO has remained just north of the island.

Hurricane Irene will to continue to strengthen for several reasons. As the storm continues moving away from Hispaniola less land interaction will occur. Sea surface temperatures ahead of Irene are very warm, generally in the mid to upper 80’s and in time the storm will pass over the very warm Gulf Stream. Irene will is in an area with almost no wind shear as evident by the good upper level outflow seen on satellite and will encounter very little wind shear for the next 5-7 days. Per water vapor imagery, there is no dry air anywhere near the storm or along the future path of the storm. All these factors, will lead to Irene being a dangerous major hurricane as it moves NW thru the Bahamas. Hurricane Irene will move to the NW for next few days then move to the North and eventually NNE. Tropical ridging to the northeast of Irene and a mid level trough expected to move across the Northeastern US late this week will be the main steering forces for Irene this week and weekend.

The new 18z BAMS track moves Irene NW thru the Bahamas tomorrow and Wednesday then northward just off the east coast of Florida on Thursday and Friday. This is almost exactly in line with the 12z BAMS solution. The BAMS track is slightly to the left of NHC’s official forecast, and is close to the European model and the 18z run of the HWRF model. BAMS model is also slightly to the left of the current spaghetti plots which keep the storm off the east coast of Florida, Georgia  and the Carolinas. With the current track and position/influence of the anticipated approaching trough, it is more probable that the greatest threat will be landfall somewhere from the South Carolina to southern North Carolina coastal areas which could occur sometime late Saturday

There is still much uncertainty (a wide margin of error) with Irene’s track past 72 hours with respect to the ridge weakening and the strength of the approaching trough.  Even if Irene does stay east of Florida there will still be at least the effects of tropical storm force winds but more importantly,  tidal surge(s)."


Hurricane Irene To Slam Into The Carolinas. Here's an update from meteorologist Alex Sosnowski at AccuWeather: "It appears Irene will take a more typical path into the Carolinas, perhaps as a major hurricane, by the first part of the weekend rather than plow into Florida as a minimal system late this week. Given the setup in the atmosphere as well as where hurricanes have traveled from similar starting points, negotiating the Antilles, Irene may take a path similar to Hurricane Bertha in 1996. People in the eastern part of the Carolinas, especially the coastal areas and barrier islands should begin making preparations for a possible hurricane landfall that brings 100-mph winds or greater, storm surge flooding, torrential rainfall and possible tornadoes."


             Hurricane Bob (1991)                                                Hurricane Gloria (1985)

Comparing Irene With Similar Tracks. Wikipedia provides some perspective on what may happen with Hurricane Irene, on a potentially similar track with Bob (1991) and Gloria (1985):

Quick notes regarding Bob (Cat 3):

*Hurricane Bob was one the costliest hurricanes in New England history (approximately $2.42 billion in 2011 USD).
*17 fatalities.
*Coastal communities bore the brunt of the storm, with sustained winds between 83 to 107 mph.
*Peak wind gusts to 125 mph (201 km/h) were recorded on Cape Cod.
*Storm surge of 6 to 10 feet (Providence, RI was inundated).
*Rain totals: 3" - 7".

Quick notes for Gloria (Cat 4):

*East Coast damage: $1.84 billion in 2011 USD
*8 fatalities.
*Long Island experienced sustained winds of 90 to 100 mph with gusts up to 115 mph.
*Gloria Left 683,000 people in New York without power.


Severe Hail Storm In The Poconos. Check out this (2 hour!) YouTube video of a wild hail storm that hit Tobyhana, in the Poconos of Pennsylvania: "The hail continued for almost 2 hours. Up to golf ball size at times. Hail covering the ground was up to 2 inches in spots. Occurred on August 19, 2011."


Sony To Release 3-D, HD, Digital Binoculars. Good news for gadget freaks everywhere, although the price tag is pretty steep on this Christmas stocking stuffer. More details from "Over the years Sony has shown its ability as a genuine innovator in the digital imaging space - in the early days of Gizmag the (then) bleeding-edge, 5-megapixel Sony F707 digital camera was a treasured part of our kit - and its latest venture looks like it could be holding that line. That venture is the company's move into digital binoculars with two models - the DEV-5 and DEV-3 - which boast full HD video recording, 7.1 megapixel still capture, optical image stabilization, 3D recording, HDMI output and (on the more expensive DEV-5) geotagging via an in-built GPS receiver."


Do You Remember Print Stories Better Than Those You Read Online? The short answer seems to be yes. Now what was the question again? has more details: "If a new research report is correct, you’re better off printing this story out and reading it if you want to remember it. A study by three doctoral candidates at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication found that print news readers remember “significantly more” than those who read news stories online. Print readers also remember “significantly more” topics than online readers, the report found. Print readers and online readers recall headlines equally well. The three authors — Arthur Santana, Randall Livingstone and Yoon Cho — took a sample of 45 students. Of those, 25 read the paper edition of The New York Times and 20 read the newspaper exclusively online. The participants were asked to read each version of the paper for 20 minutes. Then they were quizzed on what they read."


Wondrous Monday. What a day - low humidity, brilliant sunshine, a pleasant breeze, with highs mostly in the 80s. Poor Grand Marais - a breeze off chilly Lake Superior kept the "high" to only 65. Elsewhere highs ranged from 79 at Duluth to 84 in St. Cloud, 85 in the Twin Cities and 87 at Redwood Falls.



Paul's Star Tribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:


TODAY: Hazy sun, warm and sticky - slight chance of T-storms (much better chance over Wisconsin). Dew point: 72 Winds: S/SW 10-20 (higher in T-storms). High: near 90


TUESDAY NIGHT: Evening T-storms, some strong, then clearing late. Low: 70


WEDNESDAY: Sunny, less humid: Dew point: 56. High: 83


THURSDAY: Sunny, beautiful start for the Minnesota State Fair! Dew point: 55. Low: 61. High: 82


FRIDAY: Few scattered T-storms. Sticky. Dew point: 63. Low: 66. High: 81


SATURDAY: Blue sky, low humidity, a bit cooler; probably the nicer day of the weekend. Dew point: 55. Low: 63. High: 78


SUNDAY: Fading sun, T-storms late? Dew point: 61. Low: 61. High: 76


MONDAY: Clearing, turning drier & cooler. Low: 60. High: 75



Best Time of the Year?

A subjective headline? Absolutely. Every season has its merits, but there's something extraordinary about late August. Severe storms are dwindling (at least in theory), fewer tropical downpours, less humidity, and a splash of fog some mornings as Mother Nature takes her foot off the gas. The kids are still home, the State Fair beckons, water temperatures peak, and the Twins AND Vikings are on the tube. Not bad.

A brief relapse of steamy, thundery weather returns today: near 90, sticky dew points (low 70s) with a slight severe risk, bringing back sweaty memories of mid July. Any discomfort will be fleeting, a cooler front returns Wednesday with a sunny, dry, lukewarm start for the State Fair Wednesday.

Meanwhile Florida is bracing for the first direct hurricane strike in nearly 2 years. "Irene" may strengthen into a major hurricane before coming ashore Thursday or Friday, anywhere from the Keys north to Jacksonville or Savannah. Water temperatures are warm (85-88 F), high-octane fuel capable of strengthening Irene into a major storm.<p>We get a lot of grief for living in Minnesota, but I can't imagine a Texas-size weather monster pinwheeling toward my house. It puts things into perspective.


If Climate Change Isn't Happening, Why The Fight For The Arctic? Fast Company takes a look at the dramatic changes taking place in the Arctic - rapidly melting ice making it easier for the world's energy companies to drill for more oil and gas - a race to the top. Talk about a new "cold war" unfolding: "If you don't believe that the Arctic ice cap is melting, ask the Russians about it. In 2007, while many of us were busy arguing about whether or not climate change is real, a Russian mini-sub planted a titanium flag on the sea floor far beneath the floating ice lid, claiming the North Pole for the Motherland. Not surprisingly, that claim didn't go over well with the representatives of the United States, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, all of whom also have strong territorial interests--and military presences--in the Arctic. Until recently, nobody seemed to care much about who owned what up there among the polar bears, but things have changed. This summer saw the second largest meltback of sea ice on record. What was once considered a useless, frozen wasteland is now a booming frontier, and national tempers are heating up along with the local climate. One of the first signs of trouble was a spat between Canada and Denmark over Hans Island, a tiny bump of barren rock in the icy channel between Greenland and Ellesmere Island. Early surveys had left the rock's ownership quietly unresolved for years, but with all signs pointing to the opening of lucrative sea lanes between Europe and Asia, new deposits of fossil fuels and minerals, and future open-water fishing grounds, Hans Island suddenly mattered."

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Rush To Deny Climate Change. An excerpt from an article at The Australian: "In the past week, the Environmental Protection Agency has become the new target for Republican hopefuls, with conservative candidates scrambling to outdo each other over how quickly they would abolish it. The attacks have exposed a sharp split in the field between those who accept the scientific basis of climate change and those who do not. Michele Bachmann, the Tea Party insurgent, said that on the first day of her presidency, "the EPA will have the doors locked and lights turned off". Rick Perry, the Texas Governor and newest entrant in the field, slammed the agency for "job-killing over-regulation". In his book, Fed Up!, Mr Perry denounces the concept of man-made global warming as "one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight".


Climate Science Shouldn't Be "Religion" For Left Or Right. Climate science has been turned into a political football, on the left and right. Here is an article from The Atlantic that resonated with me: "I wish to associate myself with these remarks of Jonathan Adler's, so I hope he will forgive me for the extended excerpt: "Although Christie adopted the desired policy -- withdrawing from RGGI -- someconservativesareaghast that he would acknowledge a human contribution to global warming. According to one, this makes Christie "Part RINO. Part man. Only more RINO than man." ["RINO" as in "Republican in Name Only."] Those attacking Christie are suggesting there is only one politically acceptable position on climate science -- that one's ideological bona fides are to be determined by one's scientific beliefs, and not simply one's policy preferences. This is a problem on multiple levels. Among other things, it leads conservatives to embrace an anti-scientific know-nothingism whereby scientific claims are to be evaluated not by scientific evidence but their political implications. Thus climate science must be attacked because it provides a too ready justification for government regulation. This is the same reason some conservatives attack evolution -- they fear it undermines religious belief -- and it is just as wrong. Writing at, Doug Powers warns that "if some politicians think they can swim in the waters of AGW without getting wet or soaking taxpayers, they should think again." In other words, once you accept that human activity may be contributing to global warming, embracing costly and ill-advised regulatory measures is inevitable. Yet it is actually Powers, not Christie, who is embracing a dangerous premise. As Christie's veto shows, he understands that the threat of climate change doe snot justify any and all proposed policy responses. One can believe the threat is real, and still think cap-and-trade is a bad idea. Christie's critics, on the other hand, seem to accept that once it can be shown that human activity may be having potentially negative environmental effects, this alone justifies government intervention. Yet the environmental effects of human behavior are ubiquitous. Human civilization necessarily entails remaking the world around it. So if recognizing negative environmental effects leads inevitably to governmental intervention, there is virtually no end to what government needs to do, global warming or no."


Rick Perry Should Stop And Think. An Op-Ed from the Washington Post: "Whatever global warming might or might not have done to polar bears, it has put Rick Perry’s presidential candidacy at risk. The Republican Texas governor clings to an ice floe of diminishing credibility, emerging in just about a week’s time as intellectually unqualified to be president. He engaged in a brief dialogue with a child about evolution and came out the loser. Perry said there are some gaps in the theory. If so, he is one. Maybe more important, Perry waxed wrongly on global warming. He rejected the notion that it is at least partially a product of industrialization, asserting that “a substantial number of scientists have manipulated data” to make it appear that mankind — our cars, trains, automobiles, not to mention China’s belching steel mills — is the culprit. He said that an increasing number of scientists have challenged this notion and that, in conclusion, he stood with them — whoever they might be. In Appleton, Wis., Sen. Joe McCarthy’s skeleton rattled a bit."

Summer Presses On

Posted by: Paul Douglas Updated: August 14, 2011 - 8:17 PM
Todd's StarTribune Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
MONDAY: Lingering sun, still pleasant, but a little muggier. Dew point: 64. High: 82
MONDAY NIGHT: Clouds continue to increase with a few showers possible far western and northern Minnesota. A few lingering Perseid Meteorites still visible where clearing persists. Low: 67

TUESDAY: Some sticky sun early, clouds continue to increase with afternoon/evening T-storms (some could be strong). High: 83

WEDNESDAY: Damp start, then clearing. Not as humid. Low: 67. High: near 80

THURSDAY: Low humidity, less wind and bright sun. Dew point: 56. Low: 58. High: 80

FRIDAY: More PM clouds, slight chance of an afternoon shower or storms, especially across the southern half of Minnesota. Low: 63. High: 81

SATURDAY: Unsettled. Shower or T-storms possible. Low: 63. High: 81


SUNDAY: Lingering showers over the eastern part of the state, otherwise getting through the day. Low: 64. High: 81


Photo Courtesy State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Every year on the 2nd Saturday in August, my family gets together for our annual family reunion. There are no invites and no RSVPs, everyone just knows to show up with a special dish or two at my aunt and uncles place in Wisconsin who own quite a bit of wooded land. This weekend, for me, marks the time year that I feel an overwhelming sense of Fall knocking on the door... Not only have we lost about an hour and a half of daylight since the longest days of the year back in late June, but I am a seasonal allergy sufferer and I tend to experience subtle signs of the itchy, watery eyes and sneezing around this time of the year (maybe my walk in the woods on Saturday didn't help my symptoms). Don't get me wrong, I LOVE SUMMER and everything that comes with it! It is one of my favorite times of the year. I actually embrace the heat and humidity because the extreme stuff tends to only stick around for a few short weeks and if I had to, I'd rather be outside on a hot summery day rather than a -40F wind chill day. With that said, I've really come to enjoy the change in seasons and especially as we head towards Fall. Other than the Vikings never winning a Superbowl, I love watching the purple and gold, I love being able to make more of those comfort foods (chili, soups, etc.) that don't always sound so appetizing in the summery heat and I love the fall colors that will start to show up within the next month or so, especially up north.



Now, I'm not here to wish the cooler weather on just yet, we still have plenty of warmer weather to enjoy. In fact, this week looks like another fairly mild and at times, somewhat muggy week. The image below shows the extreme heat across the Desert Southwest with some of the heat and humidity spilling into the Plains through the week.


Temps Aloft By Midweek


Local Data - Extended Model Numbers

The extended GFS data suggests that MSP stays in the low to mid 80s all week for daytime high temperatures along with dew point values in the 60s (muggy) today and tomorrow. The muggier stuff will be ahead of a storm system that will bring us shower and thunderstorm chances (better chances) Tuesday afternoon/evening. Dew points then fall into the 50s behind the front Wednesday afternoon & Thursday with lots of sun - these two days look like the pick two days of the week (for now).


  Debris Clouds - Cloudy vs. Sunny

 Thunderstorms upstream from us on Sunday afternoon/evening kept us a little more cloudy during the first half of Sunday. As thunderstorms grow vertically into the atmosphere (sometimes as high as 10 to 15 miles) the stronger upper level winds blow the 'debris clouds' several hundred of mile downstream, which tends to filter out the sun. Depending on where the thunderstorms develop and how the upper level winds are blowing, you can either be enjoying sun or sitting under cloud cover. Take a look at the satellite image below from Sunday afternoon, note how the central and southern part of the state were sitting under 'debris clouds' while the northern half of the state only had a few fair weather cumulus clouds.


Chance For More Debris Clouds

More showers and thunderstorms will be developing across North Dakota late Monday afternoon/evening - the 'debris clouds' will likely move over the state of Minnesota from then on. Central and northern Minnesota will then have a better chance at getting 'debris clouds' later in the day.


Unsettled and Muggy Tuesday Ahead

An approaching storm system will keep our Tuesday warm, muggy and unsettled. Showers and thunderstorms will develop along the leading edge of the cool front across western Minnesota late in the day and slide through the rest of the state through the evening.


Tuesday Severe Risk

The Storm Prediction Center out of Norman Oklahoma has issued a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather on Tuesday for the areas in the orange below.

An Early Look At Rain For Tuesday Night - Wednesday

An early look at showers and thunderstorm chances for Tuesday afternoon/evening into early Wednesday shows the potential for about 0.50" to around 0.75" in spots where storms develop.

Pick Days of the Week

As I mentioned above, the front will be well east of us on Wednesday and Thursday and allow for some slightly cooler and more comfortable conditions to settle in. These two days look like the nicest days of the week with sunshine and drier conditions! Thanks for checking in, have a good week - Todd Nelson



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