14 days above 90 in the Twin Cities so far this summer (average for the entire summer is 13 days).
42% Based on NWS "cooling degree data" cooling bills since June 1 are running 42% above normal in the Twin Cities.
0". The NAM model doesn't print out any rain for the Twin Cities through Thursday.
105 F. high in Dallas, the 7th day/row at or above 105 F, the 38th day in a row above 100 degrees (all-time record is 42 days, set in 1980).
Shelf Cloud. Today's weather blog has a couple of amazing weather photos, including this dramatic "shelf cloud". Details below.
Cumulonimbus. I took this photo around 8:45 pm Monday evening, looking west. A few instability T-showers popped up along the leading edge of a cooler, drier, Canadian front that will drop dew points into the 50s today.
Aurora Possibilities. Recent solar storms have resulted in spectacular sightings of the Aurora Borealis. Details below.
Monday Highs. Data courtesy of the Plymouth State Weather Center.
* Nightime lows have been significantly warmer than average since June 1. Based on NWS "cooling degree data" estimated costs to cool Twin Cities homes and businesses are running 42% higher than average, meaning your electric bill may bring tears to your eyes. Literally.
Honorable Mention: "Shelf Cloud". Thanks to Pete Schenck, who lives up on Lake Superior in lovely Herbster, Wisconsin, for sending me a classic example of a shelf cloud, marking the leading edge of rain/hail-cooled exhaust from a strong thunderstorm pushing across the lake, an advancing wedge - lifting warm air aloft, which condenses into a "lip" of clouds, sometimes called a roll cloud or shelf cloud. 5 stars.
Funnel Cloud Over Madison Lakes. This funnel was spotted over Lake Monona Monday evening - no confirmation of an actual touchdown. The Wisconsin Journal has more details: "The National Weather Service and Dane County 911 Center received reports for about 20 minutes of a funnel cloud over lakes Monona and Mendota on Monday night, but no tornado warning was issued. Ashley Sears, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sullivan, said she couldn't confirm the funnel cloud appearing around 7:20 p.m. because it was weak and there was no visual of it on the radar. "
- According to data from the Oklahoma Mesonet, the statewide average temperature
during July came in at 89.1 degrees, more than 7 degrees above normal. The
National Climatic Data Center's statewide average for July stands at 88.9
degrees with data still being collected. Both values shattered the country’s
previous record of 88.1 degrees held by another legendary hot month in
Oklahoma, July 1954.
- High temperatures alone were nearly 9 degrees above normal at 102.9 degrees.
- The extreme heat is being fueled by one of the worst short-term droughts in
state history. The statewide average precipitation total of 16.73 inches since October 1,
2010, is the driest on record at nearly 14 inches below normal. Parts of
southwestern Oklahoma have seen less than 6 inches of rain over that 10-month
- The loss of soil moisture and green vegetation has combined with the summer sun
to bake the state unmercifully.
- Unfortunately, widespread relief has yet to appear on the horizon. The latest
seasonal drought outlook from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction
Center (CPC) calls for drought to persist or intensify in Oklahoma through the
end of October. Farther out, the news is just as troubling. While the La Niña
event faded in late spring, the CPC issued a La Niña watch last week for
possible development once again this winter. The possibility of extending the
current drought further would be very bad news for a state already hit hard by
the heat and lack of rainfall.
Photo credit above: "Turkey vultures drop in for a drink from one of the very few remaining watering sources on a private ranch that spans over 7,000 acres Saturday Aug. 6, 2011, near San Angelo, Texas. Randy Bolf, a fence contractor and rancher that leases the property for his cattle herd said that all of the rain and run-off watering tanks on the ranch that straddles Tom Green and Coke county have dried up and area wildlife and his cattle rely on the artificial watering sources he maintains on the property. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)"
Kaufman County Town Runs Out Of Water. Lakes have turned into puddles, many reservoirs are gone, and towns are starting to run out of water. WFAA-TV has more details: "KEMP — This small town on the shore of Cedar Creek Reservoir ran out of water on Sunday. "No water. No water. Zero water," said Kemp Mayor Donald Kile. "We’re in pretty bad shape, to be honest with you." As the temperature surged into the triple digits for the 37th consecutive day, the mayor decided Sunday to shut down the municipal water system at 4 p.m. Repairs have been made on the system and the city's water levels are slowly returning to normal. Kile said the city expects to have water running freely from faucets by 4 p.m. Tuesday. After that, residents will still need to boil their drinking water for an unknown duration. With no running water, almost every business in Kemp is shutdown. Restaurants, car washes and daycare centers are losing profits. Employees are going without pay."
Sizzling South. The predicted heat index reaches 105-110 fom Texas eastward to the Carolinas later today, more heat advisories, more heat watches and excessive heat warnings.
Tuesday Weather Map. The WRF/NAM model map (valid at 7 pm Tuesday) shows a cool front sparking showers and T-storms from Detroit to Louisville - more potentially heavy rain for the Mid South and Carolinas, even a few severe storms across the Virginia. The Upper Midwest enjoys a welcome dip in humidity, more lukewarm sunshine for most of the west.
Roof: If you need to have your roof replaced, specify:
Ring-shank nails: The design of a ring-shank nail resembles a screw, except that the head is flat.
Hurricane clips: The metal bracing connects roofs to walls.
Shingles: Look for materials rated by UL 2218 or FM 4473 as Class 3 or 4, which indicates they have been tested and found to stand up to increasing levels of hail damage. Also make sure the roof cover you choose is rated for the wind speed in your area. For example, shingles meeting the ASTM D 3161 Class F standard are rated for wind speeds up to 110 mph (a Category 2 hurricane), while shingles meeting the ASTM D 7158 Class H standard are rated for wind speeds up to 150 mph (Category 4).
Asphalt shingles are the best value, with hail resistance and wind warranties up to 130 mph. Metal is susceptible to hail damage. Slate is durable but more expensive.
Siding: Cement board is more resistant than vinyl. Cement is not rated by impact and wind like shingles."
* photo above courtesy of NOAA.
Forecast: Increased Odds Of Seeing The Northern Lights. Check out the YouTube clip taken in the Rapid Cities area. More details: "This is my first attempt of ever doing a aurora borealis time lapse. I used a Canon Rebel XS and took about 110 shots at 30 second exposures, f/3.5, and ISO 1600. I then compressed this into a video clip under 30 seconds long.... the time lapse would be longer, but my camera's battery died right when it was getting good. Unfortunately, there were quite a few clouds around during the time I was taking pictures, so the lights aren't as visible as I would like them to be. However, the clouds do provide a cool effect. Additionally, I was near a road when taking this, and occasionally a car's headlights would brighten up the picture just a bit."
Solar Storms May Disrupt Gadgets. Here are more details on the recent solar storms from Mobiledia:
- U.S. government scientists are cautioning users of telecom and electric equipment to prepare for possible disruptions from a likely magnetic sun storm over the next few days.
- “The magnetic storm that is soon to develop probably will be in the moderate to strong level,” said Joseph Kunches, a space weather scientist at the Space Weather Prediction Center, a division of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
- According to Joseph Kunches, a space weather scientist at the Space Weather Prediction Center, solar storms can affect telecom and GPS satellites, and people as far south as Wisconsin might be able to see the storms’ resulting aurora. Usually the aurora borealis, called the northern lights, are limited to northern latitudes, but the energy of this storm’s colliding energized particles may broaden the display.
- The increasing frequency of solar flares happen when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields, usually above sunspots, is suddenly released. The result is a burst of radiation across the spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma rays.
- “This will be a two or three out of five on the NOAA Space Weather Scale,” said Kunches.
- There have been three solar explosions from the sun already this week, but the first one passed the earth with little impact. However, the second one, Kunches said, “seems to be stronger.” If that trend continues when the third one passes earth, it could be more disruptive to the Earth’s magnetic field.
- As a practice, the Space Weather Prediction Center alerts power grid managers of upcoming solar events so they can plan for them. The next peak, called a solar maximum, is expected in 2013.
- “We’re coming up to the next solar maximum, so we expect to see more of these storms coming from the sun over the next three to five years,” Tom Bogdan, director of the center, said.
* There are many additional factors that shape computations of the global climate and they require the biggest of today's supercomputers, which calculate algorithms beyond the comprehension of mere mortals or our intuition
* The science of global warming and climate change is settled in a general sense. However, many details continue to be debated by researchers. There are substantial regional differences in forecasts, and the severity of the consequences for our future climate remain quite uncertain. Here you need to be a much more serious scientist than I am to have an informed view.
While there is much room for debate, challenging the complex science or its conclusions from any one dimension is unacceptable, whether by focusing on one variable, a limited time window, or via anecdotes, or limited personal observation. I, for one, accept the peer-reviewed science but would not be surprised if forecasts shift a great deal in the years ahead. In view of all of the above, policy makers need to be careful."