87 F. high predicted for today (breaking the old record of 86 set in 1912).
October 21: average date of the last 70-degree high in the Twin Cities.
October 1: average date of the last 80-degree high in the Twin Cities (Pete Boulay, MN State Climate Office).
Red Flag Warning. The combination of bright sun, growing drought, low humidity and gusty winds are creating ripe conditions for wildfires from southwestern Minnesota into Nebraska. More from the NWS: "Unseasonably warm temperatures, dry air, and strong southerly winds will result in dangerous fire weather conditions....use extreme caution if outdorrs and using anything or partaking in any activities that could result in a spark that could start a fire. Fires could become dangerous and fast-moving in a short period of time due to the gusty winds and low humidity."
Tuesday Highs. Yesterday was warmer in North Dakota than Florida...or Texas. Highs held in the 50s and 60s over New England - comfortable 80s over the southeast - much cooler air pushing into the far west, setting the stage for the first significant snowfall of the season. Map courtesty of Plymouth State Weather Center.
Crazy Extremes. Here are the records experienced Monday and Tuesday of this week - record cold, rain and snow out east, record warmth for the northern tier states and much of the west. Map courtesy of Ham Weather.
Omega Block. The weather over North America has been stuck in a holding pattern - a nearly stationary storm over the east resulting in flooding rains, mountain snows and record chill - another (even stronger) storm diving into the west will dump out some 1-2 foot snowfall amounts from the Sierra Nevada range of California (above 6,000 feet) into the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Sandwiched in-between these two powerful lows - a sprawling ridge of high pressure over the nation's midsection, responsible for record-setting 80s, even some 90s - one more taste of August!
The 2011 Monsoon season, defined as encompassing the period 15 June-30 September, was the hottest on record at Phoenix. The average temperature, 95.0 F, broke the previous record of 94.5 F established in 2007. The average maximum temperature, 106.7 F, also set a new record, eclipsing the previous record of 106.4 F established in 1989, while the average minimum temperature, 83.3 F, was the second-warmest on record (83.4 F in 2007).
Massive Dust Storm: Witnesses tell KVOA-TV in Tucson as many as 30 vehicles may be involved in the wreck near Picacho. There are reports of injuries, and several emergency crews are responding. Authorities say visibility has been reduced to zero because of intense dust blowing in the area. The Arizona Department of Transportation reports the interstate is closed in both directions. Information courtesy of KTAR.com
* Wettest September for North America since 1999.
“...The federal government issued 86 disaster declarations as of September 30, breaking the previous annual U.S. record total of 81, which was set just last year,” said Dr. Robert Hartwig, an economist and president of the I.I.I. “The number of U.S. disaster declarations has been trending sharply upward, particularly over the past 15 years,” he said. The average number of disaster declarations between 1953 and 2010 was 34 per year." - from an article at the Insurance Journal.
"...Looking back nearly 60 years, Texas and California have had the highest number of federal disaster declarations whereas three states are tied for having the fewest: Wyoming, Utah and Rhode Island, according to the I.I.I." - Insurance Information Institute.
"...Whether it's planning for retirement or losing weight, we find it too easy to disregard very clear science — and disregard our long-term health — in order to satiate our immediate desires. There's no excuse for the sort of half-fictions and outright lies that too often make up the climate-change-denial machine, but it's human psychology — as much as politics — that's preventing us from dealing with one of the greatest threats the species faces." - Time magazine article below focused on who's bankrolling the climate denial machine.
Severe Flooding In The Boston Area. Check out the YouTube footage of flooding near the train station in Swampscott, Massachusetts. The northeastern suburbs of Boston saw the heaviest rainfall amounts, as much as 3-5" early Tuesday.
Winter Returns To The Sierra, Snow Above 6,000 Feet. Some meteorologists are calling this the earlier arrival of wintry weather for parts of the western USA since 1969. KTVU-TV in the San Francisco bay area has more information: "SAN FRANCISCO -- A cold weather front took aim at Northern California Tuesday, packing a potent punch with as much as 10 inches of snow for the Sierra peaks, the earliest return of winter conditions to Tahoe since 1969, according to weather forecasters. According to the Central Sierra Snow Lab, the flurries predicted with this storm will make the shortest duration between snow storms since 1969. The lab – located in Norden – got its last measurable snow on July 1 – 96 days ago.The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Sierra in advance of the storm. The forecasters predicted 5-10 inches of snow above 6,000 feet with winds gusting to 50 mph below the mountain ridges.At lake level in Tahoe, the forecasters warned residents to be ready for several inches of slushy snow.Temperatures were expected to drop 15 to 25 degrees when the heart of the storm crosses over the northern half of the state early Wednesday. "It's unusual for fall. This is more typical of a winter storm," said Steve Anderson, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Monterey. "On average, heavy rain doesn't typically start until the end of October in Northern California. So we're a few weeks early."
Four-Story Waves Off The British Isles. The BBC reports on 15 meter waves, roughly 49 foot high crests, measured by buoys offshore: "The rollers of more than 15m (49ft) occurred during gales on Monday. They were measured by devices called wave rider buoys, that were installed off north west Lewis as part of a renewable energy project. Lews Castle College UHI, which is involved in the project, said the waves came as winds peaked at 66mph (106 km/h). The buoys, part of the Hebridean Marine Energy Futures scheme, recorded the waves about five nautical miles off Lewis. Lews Castle College UHI said it was the first time giant waves have been accurately recorded off the Western Isles. Project leader Arne Vogler said: "The occurrence of 15m waves - the height of a four-story building - after half-a-day of severe gale force winds indicates that much higher waves are likely to occur during prolonged storm periods which are often encountered in the area between autumn and spring."
New iPhone 4S Details. O.K. I'm an Apple fanboy. Sorry, I tried Android but the app marketplace was a nightmare - I just like the iExperience more than the wild-wild-west approach to Android. Gizmodo.com has more details on yesterday's new iPhone launch:
• CPU and graphics: The iPhone 4S now has the iPad 2's dual-core A5 CPU. It also has dual-core graphics, which will allow for faster and more detailed 3D. Apple claims this hardware combination makes the iPhone 4S seven times as fast as the iPhone 4 on games, and two times as fast on normal tasks.
• Internet speed: Like rumored, the new iPhone 4S runs on faster HSPA+ networks. That means that your telephone will download stuff faster from the Internet. Before it was up to 7.2 Megabits-per-second downloads. Now they claim two times as much: 14.4Mbps. This depends on the carrier, of course. I don't know about you, but on AT&T I never get the maximum speed they claim.
Apple claims that, in real life situations, they are fast or "faster" as the competition's phone on faster 4G networks. We will test that claim.
TOTO "Toilet Trike" Takes To Japan's Streets. Just when you think you've seen everything, along comes this article at gizmag.com: "If you think this smells like a PR stunt, you're right. In an effort to raise awareness about bathroom emissions and water savings, Japanese toilet manufacturer TOTO has created the Toilet Bike Neo Project ... yep, it's a road-going, three-wheeled toilet fueled by "biogas" generated from the toilet waste. The toilet trike will hit the Japanese roads in the coming days, making its way from Kyushu to Tokyo with many press stops along the way. And as if having a toilet as the rider's seat isn't enough to attract attention, the bike also features an LED lamp mounted on a column at the rear which is used to create the impression of a floating message as the bike zooms past. The rider will also be able to keep informed of the latest stock prices or weather reports as this toilet talks."
Paul's Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
The Inconvenient Facts. Here's an Op-Ed from a former Republican Congressman from South Carolina, which originally appeared in Bloomberg News, reprinted at timesunion.com: "Normally, the country can count on conservatives to deal in facts. We base policies on science, not sentiment. We insist on people being accountable for their actions. And we maintain that markets, not mandates, are the path to prosperity. When it comes to energy and climate, these are not normal times. We're following sentiment, not science, we're turning a blind eye to accountability, and we're failing to use the power of markets. The National Academy of Sciences says, "Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks." Several recent studies have found that 95 percent of climate scientists are convinced that the planet is rapidly warming as a result of human activity. But a George Mason University-Yale University poll in May found that only 13 percent of the public realizes that scientists have come to that conclusion."