Monday, July 13, 2015

Sunday Night's Storm Was a Rare Derecho - Next Chance of Widespread Storms Comes on Thursday

87 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
84 F. average high on July 13.
78 F. high on July 13, 2014.

4.76" rain so far in July.
1.67" average July rainfall, to date.
+3.09" departure from normal.

Darwin Award

Sunday evening I failed an impromptu IQ test, which may not come as much of a shock.

A tornadic storm was bearing down on our cabin near Nisswa; trees were bending over horizontally; you could hear branches snapping off above the roar of the wind. 5-foot whitecaps on the lake looked like mini-tsunamis, shredding our dock. I don't have a basement so I did the next best thing: I stood on the deck, hanging on in defiant amazement - speechless, as nature put on a spectacle no Disney theme park or IMAX movie will ever match.

Not one of my smarter moves. We had tree damage but got off easy compared to so many homeowners nearby. And it's hard posting online weather updates with no power.

Anyone with a pulse knew that severe weather was likely. But then chaos theory kicked in: there's no way to predict which towns, which homes will be hit the hardest. There never will be. As I've said in the past it's an unholy Lotto - the tiny minority of people impacted (severely) while the rest of us look on in sympathy, thanking our lucky stars.

Sunday night's storm seems to fit the definition of a derecho, at least a 240 mile (continuous) damage path. The same supercells that spawned tornadoes near Fergus Falls mutated into straight-line wind storms that congealed into one of these rare, boomerang-shaped storms that is associated with widespread wind damage.

All you can do is hunker down - and stay off your deck!

A lonely pop-up thundershower is possible this afternoon, but less than 10 percent of us will get wet and this time they probably won't be severe. More widespread storms arrive Thursday; by Saturday temperatures may be pushing into the mid-90s.

Get ready a hot, stuffy, occasionally stormy rest-of-July.

* photo upper right courtesy of @msppio_ne.

Tracking Two Distinct Supercells. The severe rotating storms that spawned a couple of tornadoes from Wilkin county into Fergus Falls seemed to split; one cell tracking toward Wadena and Brainerd, the other divebombing southeast down I-94 toward the Twin Cities. The Brainerd Lakes area may have seen the worst damage, straight-line winds blowing over countless trees - that count may rise into the thousands as clean-up crews get a better extent of the damage. A complete listing of damage is here, courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Derecho? It may be a close call whether Sunday night - Monday's storm fits the definition of a derecho. Did it last long enough, traveling far enough? Greg Carbin at NOAA's SPC, the Storm Prediction Center, shows a composite mosaic of the boomerang-shaped swirl of severe storms racing southeward from Brainerd and the Twin Cities to Madison, Chicago, Indianapolis, reaching Louisville by middday Monday. Amazing.

* According to NOAA SPC it would appear that Sunday night's storm fits the definition of a derecho.

An Irritable Sky. Although not as extreme as Sunday, there was sufficient instability for more thunderstorms to mushroom over central Minnesota and then drift south. The most severe storms blew up across Wisconsin, where a severe storm watch was posted. Monday evening loop: NOAA and AerisWeather.

Thursday: Next Chance of Heavy T-storms. NAM guidance shows an isolated T-shower risk today, mainly Red River Valley, but the next chance of widespread, potentially heavy showers and T-storms will come Thursday. 84-hour guidance: NOAA.

Sloppy Thursday Blues. Based on GFS and NAM guidance a couple inches of rain may fall close to MSP Thursday. 12 KM NAM guidance prints out 1" of rain by 7 AM Thursday with a total of 2.9" by afternoon. I'll believe it when I see it - I think the models are exaggerating how much rain will fall Thursday. Source: AerisWeather.

Seasonably Warm With A Few Hot Spikes. Temperatures cool off to near normal today into Thursday, followed by another warm-up late in the week. ECMWF and GFS guidance are both predicting mid-90s, followed by slight relief Sunday.

Toasty, Not Char-Broiled. Long-range GFS model guidance shows a persistent bubble of high pressure elevating temperatures from the southwest into the southern and central Plains in about 2 weeks. Enough cool air will hiccup out of Canada to prevent extended heat waves over the northern tier states anytime soon. Source: GrADS:COLA/IGES.

Twin Cities Air Pollution Linked To 2,000 Deaths A Year. In case you missed the story at The Star Tribune here's an excerpt and link to the entire article: "...Air quality in Minnesota is generally good and meets current federal standards. But even low and moderate levels can contribute to illness and early death. The report, jointly produced by the health department and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, estimated that 6 to 13 percent of all deaths and 2 to 5 percent of all hospital visits were aggravated by small particle and ozone pollution, the two types of air pollution that cause the greatest health risk..."

Photo credit above: Jeff Wheeler – Star Tribune. "A haze settled in over the Minneapolis skyline one day in early July as smoke from Canadian wildfires drifted across Minnesota, leading to air quality warnings."

Global Temperature Anomaly Highest Since 2009-2010. Call me crazy but I see a trend. International Business Times has a story that made me do a double-take; here's an excerpt: "...Twelve-month averages of global temperatures relative to 1981-2010 reached a value in June 2015 that is comparable with peak values experienced in 2005 and 2009-10, according to figures released by ECMWF. The 12-month period up to June 2015 was about 0.3°C warmer than the average global temperature over the period 1981 to 2010. A temperature anomaly map for July 2014 to June 2015 shows warm anomalies in most parts of the globe, with the exception of much of Antarctica, western North America and Greenland and parts of the Atlantic..."

Addicted To Your Phone? There's Help For That. The New York Times Sunday Magazine has the story - here's an excerpt: "...Adam Gazzaley, a neurologist and neuroscience professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said, “You have a population that is starting to say, ‘Wait, we love all this technology but there seems to be a cost — whether it’s my relationship or my work or my safety because I’m driving and texting....” (Animation artwork above: Matthieu Bourel).

What Are Hiccups, And How Exactly Can You Get Rid Of Them? I know it's on your mind - Quartz has the expose; here's a snippet: "...Hiccups occur when our diaphragm—a relatively thin layer of muscle just below our lungs—contracts erratically, usually as a result of our vagus nerve being tickled. The vagus nerve connects our brain to our abdomens and many other major organs. By the end of the hiccup, our glottis—an opening at the top of our vocal chords—quickly closes, and we make the characteristic hic sound..."

TODAY: Clouds build, isolated PM T-shower possible. Winds: North 10. High: 83

TUESDAY NIGHT: Clearing, a bit more comfortable. Low: 67

WEDNESDAY: Hazy sun, probably dry. Dew point: 63. High: 82

THURSDAY: Showers & T-storms likely. Wake-up: 66. High: 80

FRIDAY: Hot, sticky sun. Dew point: 70. Wake-up: 70. High: 89

SATURDAY: Hottest day with sunshine, feels like 100F? Late T-storm? Wake-up: 75. High: 94

SUNDAY: Slightly cooler, T-showers south. Wake-up: 74. High: 87

MONDAY: Sunny, still pool-worthy. Wake-up: 71. High: 89

Climate Stories....
Beijing Is Finally Getting Serious About Climate Change. Foreign Policy has an interesting article; here's an excerpt that got my complete and undivided attention: "...The renewable energy target is a serious commitment from China. They are adding renewable power between now and 2030 that truly dwarfs comparison — it is the equivalent of adding the entire U.S. power grid, but only in the form of non-fossil fuel energy. We have seen a lot of cooperation between the United States and China, especially through the Climate Change Working Group and EcoPartnerships between the countries — and there will be more of these types of initiatives as we go forward...."

Media Blows The Story: Global Warming Speed-Up Is Imminent, Not An Ice Age. But an ice age is so much better for business! Here's an excerpt at Think Progress: "...A recent study concluded that “any reduction in global mean near-surface temperature due to a future decline in solar activity is likely to be a small fraction of projected anthropogenic warming.” That’s true even for one as big as the Maunder Minimum, which was linked to the so-called Little Ice Age. The “Little Ice Age” is a term used to cover what appears to have been two or three periods of modest cooling in the northern hemisphere between 1550 and 1850. I know you are shocked, shocked to learn that unreliable climate stories appear in U.K. tabloids, the conservative media, and those who cite them without actually talking to leading climate scientists. Often there is a half truth underlying such stories, but in this case it is more like a nano-truth..."

Climate Change is a Security Threat. Make It a Foreign Policy Priority. Grist has the story; here's a clip: "...Now, a new independent report commissioned by the G7, the forum composed of the seven wealthiest developed countries and the E.U., argues that addressing the threat multiplier hypothesis needs to be a top foreign policy priority. The authors also contend that policymakers need to integrate their approaches to climate change adaptation, international development and resilience training, and peacebuilding. Titled “A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks,” the report also analyzes several climate-fragility case studies, including the Syrian case, in order to help paint a picture of the global nature of the trends at play. The picture isn’t pretty..." (Image: New Climate for Peace)

Global Warming "To Fuel Migration, Terrorism" AFP and Yahoo News UK has a summary from a new study; here's an excerpt: "Global warming-induced food and water shortages may cause mass migration, competition for resources and state failure, providing fertile ground for conflict and terrorism, analysts warned Monday. In a report entitled: "Climate Change, A Risk Assessment", a global team of scientists, policy analysts and financial and military risk experts painted a grim picture of mankind's future on a much warmer planet..."

Shell U.S. Unit May Drop "Oil" From Name In Sign of Times. Because, increasingly, oil is becoming a dirty word. Bloomberg Business has the introduction to an unlikely move: "The U.S. unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc may soon drop the word “oil” from its name in a move that would symbolize its transition to other sources of energy, an executive said. With Shell Oil Co.’s parent focusing more on natural gas and looking at other energy alternatives, the oil in the name “is a little old-fashioned, I’d say, and at one point we’ll probably do something about that,” Marvin Odum, director of the company’s upstream Americas business, said Thursday at the Toronto Global Forum..." (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File).

Fossil Fuel Industry Must "Implode" To Avoid Climate Disaster, Says Top Scientist. Here's an excerpt from a story at The Guardian: "...An “induced implosion” of the fossil fuel industry must take place for there to be any chance of avoiding dangerous global warming, according to one of the world’s most influential climate scientists. Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, an adviser to the German government and Pope Francis, said on Friday: “In the end it is a moral decision. Do you want to be part of the generation that screwed up the planet for the next 1,000 years? I don’t think we should make that decision...”

NASA Says Global Warming Hidden by Pacific and Indian Oceans. The oceans make up an estimated 93% of Earth's energy system and that's where the majority of excess heat has been going; here's the intro to a story at Tech Times: "A new reearch by NASA has revealed that extra heat from greenhouse gases were trapped in the Indian and Pacific oceans in recent years and this could likely be the cause of the so-called pause in global warming that was observed over the past decade..."

Unraveling The Relationship Between Climate Change and Health. The New York Times reports; here's a snippet: "...Still, climate change is a contributing factor. Ragweed now blooms about two to three weeks longer in the north central United States than it did a few decades ago, extending sneezing and watery eyes further into the fall, according to research led by Lewis H. Ziska, a plant scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture. The Asian tiger mosquito, which came to the southern United States from Japan in the 1980s, likely in a shipment of used tires, has recently spread as far north as Connecticut, an encroachment scientists have connected to rising temperatures, said Dina Fonseca, an entomology professor at Rutgers University..." (File image above: NASA).

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