Wednesday, July 16, 2014

As Good As It Gets - Ever. Summer Stickies Return Early Next Week

77 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.
84 F. average high on July 17.
92 F. high on July 17, 2013.

July 17 in Minnesota Weather History:

2001: Lightning struck a Minnesota National Guard field training site located in Camp Ripley. Nearly two dozen Marine Corps reservists were sent to hospitals. Most were released after treatment.

1952: 5.20 inches of rain fell in 3 1/2 hours at Moose Lake. Numerous basements were flooded and Highway 61 was impassable at Willow River.

1934: Frost damages crops across the north with 34 in Baudette and Roseau.

Tell Me a Story

That newfangled gadget (productivity tool) you just bought is obsolete by the time you unwrap it. Technology evolves, but one thing stays fairly consistent: people still respond to a good story.
Maybe it's in our caveman DNA, but we still love to gather around the fire, TV or nearest smartphone and tell each other stories.

Will computers ever remove the need for meteorologists to be involved in the weather story? Will Apple's Siri (version 6.3 in 2021) tell you what's happening outside and why? Maybe.
In 1976 there was 1 weather model (LFM). Today we have a firehose of data; hundreds of models to choose from. We are drowning in data and simulations of what (should) happen.

Studies suggest the best weather forecasts use computers and meteorologists, who rely on historical performance, intuition and gut feel. Stuff you can't program into a computer, at least not yet.
Some of the nicest weather of summer lingers into the weekend as cool exhaust from Monday's "vortex" lingers. Dew points rise into the steamy 70s next week as a hot front approaches.

The next chance of widespread T-storms comes Tuesday, so take full advantage of this extended dry spell.

And for the record: there's plenty of warm, summer weather left to enjoy.

Trust me, I'm a weatherman.

Warming Trend. Enjoy comfortable dew points in the low 50s today and early Friday, because long-range models show dew points topping 70F early next week. The good news: dry weather spills over into the weekend as temperatures rise into the 80s; a shot at 90F in the metro area early next week before cooling off a bit by midweek. Meteogram: Weatherspark.

Sweatshirt Nights for New England While Western USA Broils. NAM 2-meter temperatures show a cooling trend for much of the Northeast, while the Midwest and Plains heat up into the weekend, and temperatures continue to top 100F over much of Texas and the Southwest. 84-hour forecast: NOAA and HAMweather.

Top 10 Warmest January – July Periods. Global temperature anomalies courtesy of NASA GISS:

2010       .73C
2007       .69C
1998       .69C
2002       .68C
2014       .65C
2005       .64C
2004       .57C
2013       .56C
2009       .55C
2004       .54C

Top 10 Cities At Risk For Hurricane Damage. Insurance Business America has the article; here's a clip: "...Unsurprisingly, Florida leads the way for the highest number of homes at risk (2.5 million), containing the second- and third-ranked metro areas of Miami and Tampa. New York City represents the highest number of homes at risk (687,412) as well as the highest total value of homes exposed ($251 billion). With that level of risk, producers in the following 10 metro areas have a powerful case to present to home and business owners who have not yet purchased the proper coverage..." (Image above: NASA).

A Tornado "Lifejacket"? Keep in mind most serious, life-threatening tornado-related injuries are the result of blunt head trauma from flying debris. Could the right (reinforced) blanket really provide adequate protection during a tornado? Here's an excerpt of a story at "...Made from heavy-duty nylon, an impact gel product and Dyneema®, a high-tech body armor material, and modeled after the old Roman phalanx shields, the duo created a product dubbed BODYGUARD™. The product is a blanketlike, protective shield designed to "provide superior protection for children and teachers while at school..."

Image above courtesy of StormGuard and Protecht.

45 Years Ago We Landed Men on the Moon. How is that even possible, especially considering the onboard computers during the Apollo missions had a fraction of the computing power your smartphone has today? The Atlantic has a terrific pictorial walk down memory lane, focused on the awe-inspiring journey of Apollo 11; here's a clip: "...Years of effort, dangerous experiments, and bold missions led up to the Moon landing, an event watched on live television by millions around the world. Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin "Buzz" E. Aldrin left the Earth on a Wednesday, landed on the Moon on that Sunday, spent a bit more than two hours walking on its surface, deploying experiments and collecting samples, then splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean the following Thursday, after 8 days off-planet. Collected here are 45 images of that historic mission, a "giant leap for mankind," 45 years ago..." (Image: NASA).

A Huge New Craters is Found in Siberia, And The Theories Fly. NPR has the story and video; here's an excerpt: "The area of Russia is said to be called, ominously enough, the end of the world. And that's where researchers are headed this week, to investigate a large crater whose appearance reportedly caught scientists by surprise. The crater is estimated at 262 feet wide and is in the northern Siberian area of Yamal. The crater has been a magnet for attention and speculation since aerial footage of it was posted online last week, showing a gaping hole and what looks to be rocks and earth that exploded from within it..."

Your Sunscreen Is Really Out of Date. Here's What Congress Is Doing About It. Another reason to take the sun, like everything else, in moderation. NationalJournal has an article that made me do a double-take; here's a clip: "The U.S. may finally catch up to other countries in sunscreen technology. The ingredients that make their sunscreen superior have been awaiting approval—or any sort of decision—from the Food and Drug Administration for at least 12 years, with the last over-the-counter sunscreen ingredient approved by the agency in the 1990s. There are currently eight such ingredients stuck in the system. Meanwhile, these technologies have been available in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, sometimes for more than 15 years. As a result of the backlog, American consumers have been unable to buy the sunscreens that provide the most effective protections against harmful rays..."

Our Bees, Ourselves. All around the world colonies of honey bees are dying and the causes may be manifold. We should be paying close attention, according to a story at The New York Times; here's an excerpt: "...But in the midst of crisis can come learning. Honeybee collapse has much to teach us about how humans can avoid a similar fate, brought on by the increasingly severe environmental perturbations that challenge modern society. Honeybee collapse has been particularly vexing because there is no one cause, but rather a thousand little cuts..." (File photo: Wikipedia).

Getting Rid of Cable TV: The Smartest Ways to Cut The Cord. Yes, the old-fashioned TV antenna is staging a comeback. In fact broadcast signals in HD are often sharper over the air than via cable. If you're sick of paying hundreds of dollars for channels you never watch, check out this article at The Wall Street Journal; here's an excerpt: "...I hadn't thought about a TV antenna since 1985, but it may be time to go back to the future. Today, the network channels  you can get free over the air can be crisp. And unlike that giant antenna that used to dominate Uncle Louie's roof, today's antennas, like the $70 Mohu Leaf 50 and the $90 Winegard FlatWave Amped, are slim enough to fit on a bookshelf..."

Free Broadcast TV Signals At Your Address. Check out this terrific on-line tool at, plug in your address and height of the (prospective) antenna above the ground and you get an instant (confidential) report on what (free) TV signals are available at your home. Pretty slick.

The Myth of Wealthy Men and Beautiful Women. The Atlantic has an interesting article that may challenge how you think about couples pairing up; here's an excerpt: "...The study concludes that women aren’t really out for men with more wealth than themselves, nor are men looking for women who outshine them in beauty. Rather, hearteningly, people really are looking for ... compatibility and companionship. Finding those things is driven by matching one's strengths with a partner who’s similarly endowed, rather than trying to barter kindness for hotness, humor for conscientiousness, cultural savvy for handyman-ship, or graduate degrees for marketable skills...."

Tesla Reveals Its Next Electric Car Will Be Called Model 3, Which Should Retail For Under $35,000 in 2017. The prices are coming down - I have a hunch many of our kids and grandkids won't think twice about driving EV's, especially if they can save money (and clean up the air) in the process. Here's a clip from The Next Web: "...Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk told Auto Express in an interview that the new vehicle will rival the BMW 3 Series. Though Musk wanted to name the car ‘Model E’ at first, his plans were derailed when Ford threatened to sue it, saying it wanted to use the name — so Model 3 it eventually became. The Model 3 will be smaller than the Model S, with Musk saying it should retail for around $35,000 (or around £30,000 in the UK) due to the use of cheaper batteries that Tesla will likely build in its upcoming Gigafactory..."

TODAY: A perfect day. Sunny. Dew point: 51. Winds: SW 8. High: 78
THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear and comfortable. Low: 59
FRIDAY: Sunny, breezy & warmer. Dew point: 56. High: 81
SATURDAY: Warm sunshine. Dew point: 60. Winds: S 15+ Wake-up: 61. High: 83
SUNDAY: Sticky sun, lake-worthy. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 63. High: 85
MONDAY: Mexican Vortex. Hot sun. Dew point: 68. Wake-up: 67. High: near 90
TUESDAY: Slight relief, few T-storms likely. Wake-up: 68. High: 86
WEDNESDAY: More sun, a bit less humid. DP: 60. Wake-up: 64. High: 84

Climate Stories...

White House Unveils Climate Change Initiatives. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...One of the projects involves shoring up the power supply during climate catastrophes, and the Department of Agriculture on Wednesday will award $236.3 million to improve electricity infrastructure in the rural areas of eight states. A government study released in May concluded that climate change will strain utility companies’ ability to deliver power as extreme weather damages power lines and hotter temperatures drive surges in demand..."

Global Warming Reaches New Records. Voice of America reports; here's an excerpt: "Scientific evidence about the rising of average global temperatures seems to be piling up. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, average global temperatures in April, May and June this year were the highest since the beginning of official records, in 1891..." (Image: NASA).

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