Monday, June 8, 2015

June Sizzle - May Was Wettest Month Ever Recorded Nationwide

81 F. high temperature Monday at MSP.
77 F. average high on June 8.
71 F. high on June 8, 2014.

June 8, 1972: 8 inches of rain falls in 7 hours at Madelia Township in Watonwan County.
June 8, 1893: Violent windstorm at Maple Plain from 1:30 to 2:15pm. A large frame house was moved 8 feet from its foundation. Many barns and haysheds blown over by the wind. One barn was blown across Dutch Lake. Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service.

June Sizzle

Welcome to what should be the hottest day of 2015, to date - temperatures top 90F by late afternoon. Cauliflower cumulonimbus thunderheads bubble up by tonight along the leading edge of slightly cooler air.

I'm an aging Eagle Scout who still likes to camp (in a tent) every now and then. My wife's idea of camping is a Motel 6, but that's another story. June camping can be vaguely terrifying with severe storms raging overhead; a risk of falling trees, hail and swollen streams. Situational awareness is critical. Take along a portable NOAA Weather Radio. Load up a few radar and warning apps on your smart phone. Check it regularly. Mild paranoia is healthy.

Other things on my mind - in today's weather blog below: according to NOAA NCDC May was the wettest month ever observed, in 121 years of record-keeping.  Here in Minnesota May was the 8th wettest on record. And if the sky appears milky today it's probably smoke from Canadian fires being swept southward.

We cool off a bit Wednesday; a stalled front setting the stage for strong T-storms Thursday. Some 1 inch amounts are possible as Minnesota's drought continues on a fast-forward fade.

More T-showers slosh into town PM hours on Saturday. I'm so sorry. Sunday looks sunnier and drier.

* Photo credit above: Camille Seaman.

May Was Wettest Month on Record for Contiguous USA. Here's an excerpt from NOAA's NCDC, The National Climatic Data Center: "...The May precipitation total for the contiguous U.S. was 4.36 inches, 1.45 inches above average. This was the wettest May on record, and the wettest month of any month, in the 121-years of record keeping. For the spring season, the contiguous U.S. precipitation total was 9.33 inches, 1.39 inches above average, and the 11th wettest on record. This analysis of U.S. temperature and precipitation is based on data back to January 1895, resulting in 121 years of data..."

A few highlights from May:
-  U.S. temperature average was 0.6 degrees F. above average and near the median value in the 121 year record.
-  11th warmest spring on record for the contiguous U.S.
-   Wettest May on record and the wettest month of any in the 121-years of record keeping.
-   Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island had record warmth in May.

* Thanks to Chad Merril at Earth Networks for passing these nuggets along.

Smoke Plume. Look carefully at yesterday's high-res 1 KM visible satellite loop. What appears at first glance to be haze is really smoke, being swept downwind from wildfires in Canada. The smoke is too high aloft to actually smell, but it will leave the sky a milky-white appearance. Source:

Heavy Rain Potential Thursday. Our internal models show a potential for heavy showers and T-storms Thursday, especially southern Minnesota. AerisWeather Future Alerts print out 1" of rain by 11 PM Thursday night, based primarily on NAM guidance. The heaviest rains may pass south of MSP.

QPF. NOAA's quantitative precipitation forecast continues to print out some 1-2" amounts over the southern third of Minnesota, even a risk of flash flooding closer to the Iowa border. East of the Rockies June may wind up rivaling May, the wettest month on record for the lower 48 states, according to NOAA.

Sticky Heat - Interrupted By Occasional Downpours. Not quite tropical - not yet, but summer ramps up in the coming 10 days. After flirting with 90F today we cool off a bit the latter half of the week with the best chance of heavy rain from Mankato and Red Wing to Rochester Thursday. A dry start Saturday gives way to another round of showers and T-storms Saturday PM. A streak of 80s seems likely next week.

Northern Hemisphere Hurricane Season Off To Record Start, Fueled by El Nino. 3 out of the 4 typhoons that have formed in the northwest Pacific grew into Category 5-class storms. Abnormally warm ocean water in the Pacific helps to fuel tropical systems, but El Nino usually sparks stronger sub-tropical winds aloft, which tends to be a deterent for Atlantic storms. Here's an excerpt from The Capital Weather Gang: "...To determine how active a hurricane season has been so far, scientists use a tool called accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) — a measure of wind speed over time in each individual storm, which is then added across all storms. This measurement is a rudimentary way to calculate the activity of any given season. According to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach, this measurement of hurricane activity has surged to a new record high in 2015. As of Sunday, the ACE for the Northern Hemisphere was an astonishing 152, while the previous high for the year-to-date was 102..."

Image credit above: "The International Space Station camera captured the view of Super Typhoon Maysak that continued barreling towards the central Philippines on Wednesday." (The Washington Post).

The Deadly Combination of Heat and Humidity. The New York Times has a good article and explainer on wet bulb temperature, and how it's a better indicator of heat stress than traditional dew point. Here's an excerpt: "...These heat waves will only become more common as the planet continues to warm. They don’t just affect tropical, developing countries; they’re a threat throughout the world. The July 1995 heat wave in the Midwest caused over 700 deaths in Chicago. The August 2003 heat wave in western Europe led to about 45,000 deaths. The July-August 2010 heat wave in western Russia killed about 54,000 people..."

Tornadoes in Stereo. One massive supercell thunderstorm in Colorado, two apparent tornadoes. Here's an excerpt of an explanation at People Magazine, which I read from cover to cover, along with The Economist, Modern Orthodontics and Popular Dog Groomers. I'm great fun at parties: "Mother Nature's wrath took a shocking and stunning turn in Simla, Colorado, on June 4, unleashing a powerful thunderstorm over the small town. Storm chaser and photographer Kelly DeLay followed the weather chaos, and captured a photo of the mighty supercell that appears to show the storm spawning two tornadoes at once, reports Mashable..."

Photo credit above: "Supercell thunderstorm in Simla, Colorado." Kelly DeLay/Weather. Photographer:

Minnesota Energy Coop Offers Renewable Power to Electric-Car Owners. Here's a snippet from a story at Christian Science Monitor: "...Many electric-car owners start to think more seriously about the source of their electricity when they plug their cars in to recharge. And at least in California, data show that owners of plug-in electric cars have far higher interest in photovoltaic solar panels than drivers at large. Now a Minnesota energy cooperative is offering all-renewable electricity to the state's electric-car owners for the same price as that generated from fossil fuels, in a program it's dubbed Revolt..."

The Secret History of Seal Team 6. If you missed the story at The New York Times it's worth a read; here's the intro: "They have plotted deadly missions from secret bases in the badlands of Somalia. In Afghanistan, they have engaged in combat so intimate that they have emerged soaked in blood that was not their own. On clandestine raids in the dead of the night, their weapons of choice have ranged from customized carbines to primeval tomahawks. Around the world, they have run spying stations disguised as commercial boats, posed as civilian employees of front companies and operated undercover at embassies as male-female pairs, tracking those the United States wants to kill or capture..."

Photo credit above: "A grave for remains of Navy SEALS aboard a helicopter with the call sign Extortion 17, shot down in 2011 in Afghanistan, at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., March 22, 2015. The downing claimed 15 Gold Squadron members and two bomb specialists -- the most devastating day in the history of Navy SEAL Team 6." (Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times).

President Obama's Eulogy For Beau Biden. Thanks to Dave Pell for providing the full text of the President's remarks at - honoring an amazing man. It's some of the most beautiful writing I've ever encountered. Here's an excerpt: "...We do not know how long we’ve got here. We don’t know when fate will intervene. We cannot discern God’s plan. What we do know is that with every minute that we’ve got, we can live our lives in a way that takes nothing for granted. We can love deeply. We can help people who need help. We can teach our children what matters, and pass on empathy and compassion and selflessness. We can teach them to have broad shoulders..."

Photo credit above: "President Barack Obama pauses as he delivers the eulogy in honor of former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington, Del., Saturday, June 6, 2015. Biden, the vice president's eldest son, died at the age of 46 after a battle with brain cancer." (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

How Long Does An Average Marriage Last Around The World? One word of caution: you might not want to get married in Doha, Qatar. Here's the intro to a story at "It’s no surprise that divorce rates around the world have exploded over the last few decades. But how long does it take for most married couples to call it a day? Country by country, the average length of marriages that end in divorce vary greatly, with some not even making it to their tenth anniversary. We looked at some of the average durations around the world to gauge the bonds of marriage in the modern age..."

Google Maps Now Offers Dragon, Loch Ness Monster As Transportation Options. Another sign of the pending Apocalypse. But for now you'll only find those options in the U.K. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post: "Google Maps now provides people in Great Britain with real-time information about the best and quickest ways to get places -- regardless of whether commuters choose to travel by train, tube, bus, boat, dragon or Loch Ness Monster. Take the journey from Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, to the Welsh mountain range, Brecon Beacons. According to Google, it would either take you about 3 and a half hours to drive. Or 32 minutes by dragon..."

TODAY: Hot sun, isolated T-storm late, especially up north. Dew point: 64. Winds: SW 10. High: 91

TUESDAY NIGHT: Unsettled with a stray T-storm possible. Low: 63

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, slightly cooler and less humid. Dew point: 55. High: 82

THURSDAY: Showers and T-storms, some heavy. Wake-up: 61. High: 71

FRIDAY: Wet start, then slow clearing. Wake-up: 58. High: 75

SATURDAY: OK morning as clouds build, PM T-showers likely. Wake-up: 62. High: 74

SUNDAY: More sun, nicer day of the weekend. Wake-up: 63. High: 83

MONDAY: Hazy sun, feels like summer. Wake-up: 65. High: 84

Climate Stories...

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

- Upton Sinclair

Lindsey Graham Urges Action on Climate Change. Is the GOP orthodoxy on fossil fuel support breaking down or is Senator Graham whistling in the wind? Personally, he's the voice of science-sanity in the wilderness, and we wish him well in his quest to become President of the United States. Here's an excerpt from Politico: "...If I’m president of the United States, we’re going to address climate change, CO2 emissions in a business-friendly way,” the South Carolina senator said. “I do believe that climate change is real.” ”When 90 percent of the doctors tell you you’ve got a problem, do you listen to the one?” Graham added, in a nod to the vast majority of scientists who say climate change is real and caused by human activity..." (Photo credit: AP).

Richard Parker: The Price of Ignoring Climate Change. From crippling droughts to biblical floods, Texas, along with Florida and California, appear to be some of the first states to be directly impacted by a warmer ocean and warmer seas, sparking more weather extremes and whiplash. A columnist at The Dallas Morning News is challenging Ted Cruz and other climate change skeptics/denialists on the science; here's an excerpt: "If Ted Cruz wants to be president, then I have an invitation for him: He should spend the next year not campaigning but instead cleaning mold out of homes and hauling and burning debris along the Blanco River. The reality is that there is a profound disconnect between the politicians of Texas and the 27 million Texans who increasingly feel the effects of climate change. Texas is getting hotter and drier before much of the rest of the country, and that only makes storms worse as they defy nearly every model. The science is clear; only the politicians are fuzzy..."

File photo credit above: "Mark Baker takes photos of the Trinity River in Dallas on Saturday, May 30, 2015. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for portions of Central and South Texas, which could see as much as five inches of rain Saturday if a storm system stalls over the area." (AP Photo/Rex C. Curry).

Wallace to Santorum: If Pope Shouldn't Talk Climate Change, Why Should You? Mediaite has the story and video clip from Fox News; here's an excerpt: "...I’m saying, what should the Pope use his moral authority for?” he asked. “There are more pressing problems confronting the earth than climate change.” Santorum went on to say that the scientific consensus about climate change was an alarm for him. “Any time you hear a scientist say science is settled, that’s political science, not real science,” he said..."

A Moral and Christian Duty to Defend The Planet. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at "...With an encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis would be doing his part to protect and defend a planet we share with current and future generations. Nothing is more Christian or moral than promoting environmentally friendly ideas aimed at uplifting all of humanity. The promotion and protection of life are of paramount concern for Catholics. Therefore, if Rick Santorum is truly a faithful defender and promoter of life, he will come to embrace the teachings of Pope Francis on the environment."

File photo above: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia.

NOAA Study Confirms Global Warming Speed-Up Is Imminent. Here's a snippet from an explainer at ThinkProgress: "A major new study from NOAA finds more evidence that we may be witnessing the start of the long-awaited jump in global temperatures. As I reported in April, many recent studies have found that we are about to enter an era of even more rapid global warming. Indeed, one March study, “Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change,” warns the speed-up is imminent — with Arctic warming rising a stunning 1°F per decade by the 2020s..."

Warmer, Lower-Oxygen Oceans Will Shift Marine Habitats. As oceans warm species will be pushed away from the equator and toward the poles, a trend which is already underway, according to The National Science Foundation; here's an excerpt: "...The scientists found that these changes will act to push marine animals away from the equator. About two thirds of the respiratory stress due to climate change is caused by warmer temperatures, while the rest is because warmer water holds less dissolved gases such as oxygen. "If your metabolism goes up, you need more food and you need more oxygen," said lead paper author Curtis Deutsch of the University of Washington..."

Image credit above: "Scientists studied Atlantic rock crabs to see how they would fare in a warmer climate." Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

* A link to the research referenced above is available here.

What Your Neighbors Think About Climate Change. 63% of Minnesota adults acknowledge that it's warming up - the same percentage as adults in Texas. Here's an excerpt from Huffington Post: "...A research team at Yale and Utah State Universities combined seven years of survey data, including more than 13,000 individual respondents, to develop a statistical model. The model accurately estimates American public climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and policy support in all 50 states, 435 Congressional districts, and 3,000+ counties. A description of the model and how it works can be found in the recently published paper in Nature Climate Change ..."

Forget About The "Hiatus" - Warming Of The Earth Has Continued. Much of that extra warmth has gone into the oceans in recent years, according to a story at Climate News Network and Here's an excerpt: "Forget about the so-called “hiatus” in global warming. The planet’s average temperatures are notching up as swiftly now as they did 20 or 30 years ago. A team of US researchers has looked again not just at the data for the last 60 years but at how it has been collected, and done the sums again. They conclude, in the journal Science,  that the “estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. These results do not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature rise...”

Shell's Former Chairman Made a Startling Comment About Climate Change. TIME Magazine has the story; here's the intro: "When the oilmen themselves are arguing for stronger action to fight climate change, it’s probably time to start acting. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, the former chairman of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, said that the lack of progress the world has made on climate change is, “distressing,” and that it was “rational” for investors to start divesting their money from companies that extract fossil fuels, according to a report in The Guardian..." (Image: NASA's International Space Station).

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