Friday, July 11, 2014

"July-tober". Rare Mid-Summer Windchill by Monday (coolest MLB All-Star Game on record?)

85 F. high on Thursday in the Twin Cities.
84 F. average high on July 10.
83 F. high on July 10, 2013.

.31" of rain predicted for MSP by Saturday evening (NAM model).

All-Star Cliche

How often have you heard the following: "Oh, you live in Minnesota - it's really cold there huh?" I usually nod in agreement, then show them my polar bear tattoo, which makes them want to change the subject.

I would bet a small, well-equipped Winnebago that FOX-TV announcers will chat about "Minnesota's ridiculously chilly weather" during Tuesday's MLB All-Star game, reinforcing the tired stereotypes we've all grown up with.

According to meteorologist D.J. Kayser if the first pitch temperature is colder than 68F at Target Field it'll be the chilliest All-Star game since 1980. It'll be very close.

If you're connecting the dots and tracking the trends early next week will be more evidence that the jet stream is seriously misbehaving; knocked out of alignment. Monday may be 20-25F cooler than average here, but 30-35F warmer than average over western Canada. More crazy extremes.

A few T-storms today give rise to 80s with some sun tomorrow (and a few more storms). Soak it any attempted warmth, because we start to cool off Sunday. Monday will feel like football weather: scrappy clouds and PM showers, 50s north and 60s south.

You may not believe me (I'm OK with that) but Monday morning there's a 60 percent chance you'll reach for a jacket.

MLB All-Star Weather Factoids. From Media Logic Group meteorologist D.J. Kayser:

Weather conditions for first pitch are available from official box scores on Baseball Reference. A good note, not every box score lists weather conditions. The vast majority have it, however, since the League Divisional Series started in the 90s. I went back to 1980, and the weather listed for the start of the game is included (if it wasn't "Unknown") in the attachment.

Since 1980, there have been 4 games with documented starting weather that had a gametime temp of 68°
  • 1990 - Wrigley Field (Chicago)
  • 1999 - Fenway Park (Boston)
  • 2002 - Miller Park (Milwaukee)
  • 2007 - AT&T Park (San Francisco)
Since 1980, there have been no documented games with a gametime temp of below 68°.

Weekend Meteogram. Expect more scattered showers and T-storms today and Saturday as dew point rise thru the 60s. Winds swing around to the northwest Sunday; the sunnier, drier, cooler day of the weekend as temperatures sink into the 40s - meaning less than half as much water in the air than Saturday.

Summer Siesta. The first few days of next week will feel more like late September than mid-July. Monday will be the chilliest day; highs in the low to mid 60s with scrappy clouds and PM instability showers. Gametime temperatures for the MLB All-Star game will be in the mid 60s after a Tuesday high near 70. The good news: summer stages a comeback by the end of next week - 80s return next weekend.

Arthur's Revenge? One theory circulating among meteorologists. A powerful cyclonic flow around ex-hurricane Arthur (which plowed into the Canadian Maritimes) helped to dislodge unusually chilly air and push it southward towards the USA. That's a plausible theory, but there's now little doubt that jet stream winds will buckle, allowing potentially record-setting chill to pour southward early next week. Typical for early October, but a little unusual for the dead of summer. 500 mb winds: HAMweather.

2-Meter Temperature Outlook. NOAA's NAM model shows highs topping 100F over the central and southern Plains, at the same time 50-degree air surges south across Manitba, treating much of the Upper Mississippi Valley to a bout of rare, mid-summer sweatshirt weather by Monday.

Exclusive: Coastal Flooding Has Surged In U.S., Reuters Finds. Here's an excerpt of an eye-opening story from Reuters at The Chicago Tribune: "...During the past four decades, the number of days a year that tidal waters reached or exceeded National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration flood thresholds more than tripled in many places, the analysis found. At flood threshold, water can begin to pool on streets. As it rises farther, it can close roads, damage property and overwhelm drainage systems. Since 2001, water has reached flood levels an average of 20 days or more a year in Annapolis, Maryland; Wilmington, North Carolina; Washington, D.C.; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Sandy Hook, New Jersey; and Charleston, South Carolina. Before 1971, none of those locations averaged more than five days a year. Annapolis had the highest average number of days a year above flood thresholds since 2001, at 34..."

Hurricane Storm-Surge Risks to Property Rise on Atlantic, Gulf Coasts, Study Finds. Here's the intro to a story at The Wall Street Journal: "More than 6.5 million homes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk of hurricane storm-surge damage, with New York City having the most homes and value at risk, according to a new report released Thursday by a company that analyzes property values. The study by CoreLogic found that the vulnerable homes represent $1.5 trillion in potential reconstruction costs, with nearly two-thirds - $986 billion - of that risk concentrated in 15 metro areas..." (File image: USGS).

Map: Every U.S. Hot Car Child Death in 2014. has details on every one of the 16 hot weather-related child deaths in the USA so far this year. It's worth reminding (everyone) that you can't leave kids in a hot car, even for a minute or two, this time of year.

Flooded and Coming Back Stronger. I came across an amazing article about last year's devastating flood in Boulder, Colorado that's worth a look. Check it out in Headwaters: Colorado Foundation for Water Education.

Tornado Alley Migration? Traditional Tornado Alley runs from Texas to Iowa, but in recent years NOAA SPC has issued the most Tornado Watches for southern Alabama and Mississippi, the same area that has the highest tornado concentration and death toll. Not quite what I was expecting, and it's the topic of today's first Climate Matters segment.

Severe Storm Capital of the USA Since 2003: Asheville, North Carolina? I know, I did a double-take too, and 10 years may not be a long enough time to derive any meaningful statistical trends, but the Asheville area receives nearly 40 days/year, on average, with a tornado, severe wind storm or large hail within 25 miles of the city, according to NOAA SPC. That compares with 25 in Atlanta, 21 in Dallas and Denver, 10 in Chicago and roughly 16 in the Twin Cities. L.A. sees an average of 4 severe weather days, with only 1 in the Bay Area and San Diego. Sign me up. Source: NOAA SPC.

The Severe Weather Capital of the USA Since 2003 is....North Carolina? When, exactly, did that happen? The data set isn't very long (since 2003), but looking at tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds Asheville, North Carolina sees more than 3 times more "severe weather days" during an average year than Dallas or Wichita. That's the subject of a second Climate Matters segment: "40 days a year of severe weather makes..... Asheville, NC the severe weather capital of the United States? It's true. The Carolinas see almost 40 days a year with hail and wind gusts over 50 mph. That's a bit of a head scratcher."

It's Hurricane Season. Too Bad The Fed's Aircraft Fleet for Tracking Them Is Kind Of A Mess. Jill Aitoro has the story at The Washington Business Journal; here's a highlight: "...So what’s the problem? As reported by the Government Accountability Office, they’re overburdened. And they’re old. NOAA’s aircraft fly approximately 3,800 to 5,200 flight hours per year. And although most hurricane reconnaissance is conducted by Air Force aircraft, NOAA is required to make its P-3 Orion aircraft available if the Air Force is unable to meet the reconnaissance needs posed by severe weather events. One of NOAA’s two operating P-3 Orion planes must be configured and available to conduct reconnaissance each hurricane season from June 1 to November 30, the GAO noted, and the other P-3 Orion must be available from July 15 to Sept. 30. During these months, the P-3 Orion planes are generally not available for other uses...."

File image: AP.

Voices: Floridians Get Complacent About Hurricanes. It's been 9 years since a major, category 3 or stronger hurricane has hit the U.S. coastline. At some point the law of averages catches up with you. Here's a clip of an Op-Ed at USA TODAY: "...There are several reasons why Floridians have adopted a more casual approach to hurricanes in recent years. Part of it is a new wave of people moving to the state who have no experience with hurricanes or typhoons or anything of the sort. About 1 million people have moved to Florida since the last hurricane hit the state in 2005, according to the U.S. Census. Another factor is how quickly people can forget painful events. McCaughey likens it to childbirth: "We forget how much that hurts..." (Imagery: NASA).

Why New Orleans' Katrina Evacuation Debacle Will Never Happen Again. Next City has an interesting story focused on what New Orleans officials learned in the wake of Superstorm Sandy; how they are much better prepared for the next, inevitable hurricane. Here's an excerpt: "In New Orleans, evacuation requires decisions that must be made early before traffic builds, motels fill up, roads flood, or winds reach dangerous levels. In 2005, when Katrina loomed in the Gulf, most New Orleanians did leave town, but roughly 100,000 were left behind. Many lacked a car or money for transportation, or had special needs that made evacuation impossible. Others were stranded because they practiced “vertical evacuation,” staying with family that lived on higher ground or renting hotel rooms in buildings that had proven safe in the past. “We will never do that again,” said Lt. Col. Jerry Sneed, the city’s deputy mayor of Public Safety and Homeland Security..."

A Reason Millions of Bees are Dying. The Washington Post reports; here's the intro: "In the past several weeks, a spate of studies have appeared in scientific journals suggesting the culprit behind mass deaths of honeybees is widely used pesticides called neonicotinoids. On June 23, President Obama signed a memorandum establishing the first-ever federal pollinator strategy and the Agriculture Department announced $8 million in incentives to farmers and ranchers in five states who establish new habitats for honeybees..."

Bingeing on Bad News Can Fuel Daily Stress. After reading the previous story about bees I'm kind of depressed. This may not come as a shock (to anyone), but if you immerse yourself in a steady drumbeat of negativity and gloomy news, it probably won't help your stress levels. Here's a clip from NPR: "If you're feeling stressed these days, the news media may be partly to blame. At least that's the suggestion of conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. The survey of more than 2,500 Americans found that about 1 in 4 said they had experienced a "great deal" of stress in the previous month. And these stressed-out people said one of the biggest contributors to their day-to-day stress was watching, reading or listening to the news..."

Illustration: Katherine Streeter for NPR.

TODAY: Showers and T-storms likely, few downpours. Winds: S 10. High: near 80
FRIDAY NIGHT: Another T-shower. Low: 67
SATURDAY: Some sun, sticky. T-storms late. Dew point: 67. High: 82
SUNDAY: More sun, drier - cooler breeze. Wake-up: 64. High: 79
MONDAY: Early October. Clouds, PM showers. Wake-up: 60. High: 67
TUESDAY: More clouds than sun. DP: 47. Wake-up: 53. High: 70
WEDNESDAY: Bright sun. Beautiful. Wake-up: 55. High: 74
THURSDAY: Fading sun, a bit warmer. Wake-up: 59. High: 77

Climate Stories....

Global Warming Interactive. How Hot Will Your City Get? By the end of the 21st century, if there is no concerted global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, summers may be unrecognizable across muc of the USA, according to Climate Central and InsideClimate News; here's an excerpt: "...According to the research, U.S. cities could be up to 12 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than they are today by 2100. St. Paul, Minnesota could feel like Dallas, Texas. Las Vegas could feel like places in Saudi Arabia, with average temperatures of 111 degrees Fahrenheit. Phoenix could feel like Kuwait City, one of the hottest cities in the world, with average temperatures of 114 degrees Fahrenheit..."

Global Warming Creates Arctic Shipping Route Opportunity. Less ice up north? Here's one silver lining: we can ship stuff faster! Euronews has the video and story; here's an excerpt: "Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines says it going to run the first ever regular commercial shipping route through the Arctic Ocean. Starting in 2018 it plans to initially move liquefied natural gas from the huge LNG plant Russian is to build on the Yamal Peninsula to markets in Europe and Asia. In a joint venture with China Shipping, it will use three icebreakers, which have been ordered from South Korea’s Daewoo..."

Climate Change Solution: Scrap Subsidies, Fund Innovation. Seems like a good idea to me, although we've been subsidizing dirty fossil fuels for a long time, and continue to do so as a nation. Here's an excerpt from The Christian Science Monitor: "Ahead of next year's Paris climate talks, it's time for a new approach to climate change that supports making clean energy cheaper than fossil fuels without subsidies, writes Matthew Stepp of the Center for Clean Energy Innovation. The only way to do that is with more innovation..."

Global Warming Requires More Frequent Rethink of "Normal" Weather: UN. No kidding. As the weather becomes more volatile, responding to more energy and heat in the atmosphere-ocean-cryosphere, we're going to see more erratic swings in temperature and moisture. Here's an excerpt from Reuters: "The baseline for "normal" weather used by everyone from farmers to governments to plan ahead needs to be updated more frequently to account for the big shifts caused by global warming, the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday. The WMO's Commission for Climatology believes rising temperatures and more heatwaves and heavy rains mean the existing baseline, based on the climate averages of 1961-90, is out of date as a guide, the WMO said in a statement. "For water resources, agriculture and energy, the old averages no longer reflect the current realities," Omar Baddour, head of the data management applications at the WMO, told Reuters..."

Climate Change: What Are The Risks to Corporations? Fortune has the details; here's an excerpt that caught my eye: "Extreme weather events appear to be getting more severe and more frequent, as the recent drought in California and floods in Europe reminded us. Weather events accounted for 90% of natural catastrophe losses in 2013, causing over $120 billion of losses, according to reinsurance company Munich Re. In 2012, the overall effect of climate events on the US and European economies is estimated at more than $5 trillion for each region, or over 30% of their GDP. The investment community – along with regulators – has woken up to this threat. It is demanding more information from companies about their exposure to climate events, as well as the prospective cost of their carbon emissions..."

Saving Water in California. California may be facing a slow-motion water disaster if El Nino-driven rains don't arrive next winter (which is no sure bet). Here's a clip of an Op-Ed from The New York Times Editorial Board: "...California is in the third year of its worst drought in decades. But you wouldn’t know this by looking at how much water the state’s residents and businesses are using. According to a recent state survey, Californians cut the amount of water they used in the first five months of the year by just 5 percent, far short of the 20 percent reduction Gov. Jerry Brown called for in January. In some parts of the state like the San Diego area water use has actually increased from 2013. Without much stronger conservation measures, the state, much of which is arid or semiarid, could face severe water shortages if the drought does not break next year..." (Image above: ThinkStock).

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