Friday, June 20, 2014

Steamy Summer Solstice: All-Time June Rainfall Record at MSP About to be Broken?

85 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday.
80 F. average high on June 20.
91 F. high on June 20, 2013.

Trace of rain at MSP International yesterday.

.67" additional rain predicted by Monday evening (00z NAM model).

Waterlogged Solstice

Breaking news: for the first time in 3 years no portion of Minnesota is in drought! No kidding. With little warning the weather pendulum has swung in the opposite direction.

To try and put this into perspective much of Minnesota has already picked up a year's worth of precipitation. At 25.23 inches 2014 is the wettest year, to date, since modern-day records were started in 1871. What's also impressive (at least for geeky meteorologists) is the size of the area impacted by flooding. Most summer flash floods strike just a few counties. This week's inundation flooded 35 of Minnesota's 87 counties; the kind of expansive soaking you'd expect in April or October - not a couple days away from the Summer Solstice.

Major flooding is expected next week on the Mississippi near St. Paul. The forecast crest of 19.9 feet would be the highest June crest on record. Good grief.

Expect warm sun today; mid-80s may lure you onto an overflowing lake today. Just don't create a wake. A T-storm could bubble up by evening - maybe 1-2 inches from T-storms Sunday and Monday; more storms late next week. At this rate we should easily break the record for wettest June (11.67 inches in 1874).

What a year huh?

5-8 Weeks Worth Of Rain Last Week South Metro and much of Southern Minnesota. Here are rainfall amounts for the last 7 days according to NOAA, as much as 4-6" south metro, with as much as 10"+ near Marshall and Worthington.

Record June Flood Crest For Mississippi at St. Paul? The record crest in St. Paul was 26 feet in April of 1965, but the record June crest is 16.8 feet on June 2, 1908. Based on the latest forecast from NOAA's North Central River Forecast Center the Mississippi may crest nearly 3 feet above that stage the latter half of next week.

Flood Preparation in St. Paul. Here's a link to The City of St. Paul, which has the latest crest forecasts, webcams, impacts and implications for road and park closures into next week:

Flood Impacts
14 feetMinor Flood Stage
14 feetWater Street Closed
14 feetLilydale Park area begins to become submerged
15 feetModerate Flood Stage
17 feetMajor Flood Stage
17 feetSecondary flood walls are deployed at St. Paul airport
17.5 feetHarriet Island begins to become submerged
18 feetShepard / Warner Road may become impassable
Historic Heavy Rainfall. Dr. Mark Seeley points out something that caught my eye as well: the expansive aerial coverage of area that received excessive rains in recent weeks, especially the last week. Most flash flood events are confined to a county or two; but at least 35 Minnesota counties have been impacted by recent record rains. Here's an excerpt of this week's Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...For the first time since July of 2011 there is no spot on the Minnesota landscape designated to be in drought! I think we all know why, another historically wet month of June is upon us. Four of the last five Junes have brought record setting rainfalls to some parts of the state. The most remarkable feature of this June is how widespread (geographically) these record-setting rainfalls have been..."

One More Sloppy Frontal Passage. 12 km. NAM Future Radar shows a few isolated T-storms later today, a better chance of scattered storms Sunday as the leading edge of (slightly) cooler, drier air pushes across the Upper Midwest. Dew points drop into the upper 50s by the middle of next week, about as comfortable as its going to get the next 1-2 weeks. Source: NOAA and HAMweather.

Extended Outlook. At the rate we're going we have a 60-70% chance of breaking the all-time June rainfall record for the Twin Cities (11.64" set in 1874). Half an inch of rain is possible Sunday, another 1 to 1.5" the end of next week and next weekend, falling on top of the 10.76" that's already accumulated so far. European (ECMWF) data suggests a slight dip in temperature and dew point late Monday into Wednesday, and then back into a hot, tropical (thundery) pattern the end of next week as T-storms return.

California's Drought Getting Even Worse, Experts Say. While we hold our breath through the wettest year ever recorded, California continues to wither. Here's an excerpt of an update from The Los Angeles Times: "...Exceptional" drought conditions have spread in Central California since a week ago, weather officials said. Areas in Northern California have also moved into this category since last week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Almost 33% of the state faces exceptional conditions. About 25% of the state faced those conditions last week. Every part of California remains in what is considered severe drought. A year ago, no part of the state was in exceptional drought conditions, the weather service said..."

Airliners Become Weathermen as Sensors Upend Forecasting. Yes, the Internet-of-Things has the potential to revolutionize weather forecasting, as reported at Bloomberg; here's an excerpt: "...The number of aircraft sending the temperature and wind data has grown gradually and now as many as 500,000 observations a day are captured around the world, mostly in North America, Europe and parts of Asia, according to the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. While no one has quantified the benefits, even small advancements count when weather causes about one-third of all flight delays. Total delays cost airlines more than $8 billion in 2007, according to Transportation Department data..."

World Gets 22% of Electricity from Renewables. That's a higher number than I was expecting. In the U.S. the number is closer to 13%, but it continues to rise, according to an article at The Wall Street Journal; here's a clip: "The Renewables 2014 Global Status Report released earlier this month has good news for the environment, namely that an estimated 22.1% of the world’s electricity was generated from renewable sources in 2013. That percentage is expected to rise as countries across the globe pour money and resources into alternative, clean energy..."

Confidence In Television News Dips to New Low. TVSpy has the story; here's an excerpt: "The percentage of Americans who have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the news media is at a record low, according to a new Gallup poll. Confidence in television news is at an all time low of only 18%, lower than both newspapers (22%) and Internet news (19%)..."

This Is Why The Midwest Is Still #1. In spite of the monsoon summer rains and harsh winters there's something to be said for living in "fly-over land". Huffington Post has a list; here's an excerpt: "Huzzah for America's Middle West! Its heartland. Its breadbasket. Home of open skies, neat rows of corn and more lakes than you can imagine. Yes, "science" is a loose term here. We merely jumped at the chance to explain precisely what makes the Midwestern region so wonderful, according to certain probably unbiased sources. Did we go overboard? Does it matter? Here are 12 reasons to love the Midwest even more..."

Image credit: NASA's Earth Observatory.

TODAY: Summer Solstice: 5:51AM. Some AM sun, isolated T-storm possible. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 86
SATURDAY NIGHT: Humid with a risk of a T-storm. Low: 69
SUNDAY: Humid, few showers T-storms likely. Dew point: 68. High: 81
MONDAY: Passing shower, turning slightly cooler. Wake-up: 68. High: 81
TUESDAY: Sunny start, PM showers north. Wake-up: 62. High: 79
WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny, probably dry. A bit more comfortable. Wake-up: 59. High: 81
THURSDAY: Muggy, more T-storms in the area. Wake-up: 60. HIgh: 83
FRIDAY: Hot sticky sun, a few pop-up storms. Wake-up: 70. High: 88

Climate Stories...

Shrinking Arctic Ice Prompts Drastic Change in National Geographic Atlas. Here's an excerpt from a story at National Geographic Daily News: "The reduction in multiyear ice—commonly defined as ice that has survived for two summers—is so noticeable compared with previous editions that National Geographic Geographer Juan José Valdés calls it "the biggest visible change other than the breakup of the U.S.S.R." As the ocean heats up due to global warming, Arctic sea ice has been locked in a downward spiral. Since the late 1970s, the ice has retreated by 12 percent per decade, worsening after 2007, according to NASA. May 2014 represented the third lowest extent of sea ice during that month in the satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)..."

Image credit here.

Summertime Blues. U.S. Seeing Red as Temps Rise. The long-term temperature trends, with a few exceptions, are warmer for the vast majority of the United States. Here's an excerpt from Climate Central: "...The summer solstice is right around the corner this Saturday and temperatures around the U.S. have started to rise to the occasion. But it’s not just a warmup from spring to summer that’s occurring: summer temperatures have been steadily rising since 1970. On average, temperatures have increased at a rate of about 0.4°F per decade in the contiguous U.S. since 1970, or nearly 2°F overall. But some areas have been warming much faster, and others more slowly. The fastest warming “climate divisions,” or localized areas within regions, are in southern California and Nevada in the western region. There, temperatures have risen by as much as 1.32°F per decade, or more than 5°F overall since 1970..."

The New Environmentalism Will Lead Us To Disaster. Is there such a thing as a "Good Anthropocene"? Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed at Scientific American: "...Some climate science deniers believe only God can change the climate; ecopragmatists, by contrast, see humans as “the god species.” Here is what the god species and this kind of thinking are certain to give us: an atmosphere with 500 ppm of CO2 (probably closer to 700 ppm) and a climate that is hot, sticky and chaotic. It will indeed take omnipotence to fix the problem without calamity. For those who prefer orthodox climate science, such unbounded optimism is dangerous, wishful thinking." (Image credit: NASA).

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