December 31, 1937: Damage is done by a flood at Grand Marais, while 18 inches of snow is dumped on Grand Portage.
December 31, 1913: New Ulm has its fortieth consecutive day without precipitation.
The Gift of Time - And an Early January Thaw
The older I get the more I realize the ultimate gift is time. My Christmas list shrinks every holiday as it dawns on me that what I want most can't be purchased. Time with family & friends. Time to do the things I enjoy.
Another gadget? A hollow thrill that quickly fades. "It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time" said the late Steve Jobs. The world may measure success with the metrics of money and consumption, but they aren't the most treasured currency.
The last day of 2015 brings teens with a wind chill in single digits. You remember how to shiver, right?
Metro temperatures may thaw to near 32F over the weekend as another puff of Pacific air arrives - from the northwest of all places. No more headline-leading storms brewing; we start 2016 on a quiet, seasonably cool note.
On the weather blog below: the top Minnesota weather stories of 2015, historic flooding in the UK, the warmest December on record for Germany and 30s (above zero) at the North Pole? That's 50-600F warmer than average for late December.
I suspect this may be more than just El Nino.
All signs point to the El Niño pattern continuing to dominate the end of December with the potential for delivering some rain or snow to drought-stricken California and a high probability of a warmer than normal Christmas in the U.S. northeast.However, there may be a need to keep those winter coats in the front of the closet. Some scientific indicators suggest a January 2016 weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex, increasing the chance for severe late winter weather over the continents..."
Death Toll Rises in Missouri Floods, Threat Not Over. Historic December rains falling on partially frozen ground and running off into tributaries has tipped the Mississippi River to flood stages not seen since 1993. Here's an excerpt from NBC News: "... (Governor) Nixon declared a state of emergency on Monday and activated the National Guard on Tuesday. He pledged help for inundated towns. President Barack Obama called Nixon for a briefing on the situation Wednesday, and directed his staff to coordinate with the state on any federal assistance required, the White House said. "We are here before the water rises, we're here after it falls," Nixon said. "We're here until this place is back to where it was before. And sometimes that takes a while." Parts of the Meramec River were between two and three feet higher than during a devastating flood in 1993, which is also known as the "great flood," Nixon said. The Mississippi River at Thebes, Illinois, reached two feet higher than in 1993, he said..."
Photo credit above: "In this aerial photo, the Mississippi River flows out of its banks Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, near West Alton, Mo. A rare winter flood threatened nearly two dozen federal levees in Missouri and Illinois on Wednesday as rivers rose, prompting evacuations in several places." (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Photo credit above: "Water swells on Highway 141 underneath a closed Interstate 44 overpass on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015." Photo by Robert Cohen.
* U.S. Army Corp of Engineer flood-fighters are now fully engaged. Details here.
Managing Slip and Fall Injuries. Since it's top of mind (for me) I wanted to share an excerpt of an eye-opening post at Culture of Safety. Chances are someone you know, a friend or family member, will take a nasty tumble with serious implications: "...Slips and falls are consistently one of the leading causes of injuries affecting workers in every industry. Slips and falls can range from minor to severe and can affect people of all age groups. The United States Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently conducted a study on slips and falls in the workplace and made the following discoveries:
- Injuries from slips and falls are the most common work related injury
- 25,000 slip and fall injuries per day
- 35% of all work-related injuries are from slips and falls
- 65% of all work days lost are from slips and falls
- The total annual cost of slip and fall injuries in the United States is over $60 billion annually..."
#4 Straight Line Winds Wreck Havoc in the Brainerd Lakes Area: July 12, 2015
The most damaging severe storm event of the year came in the form of a line of severe thunderstorms that brought winds from 70 to 95 mph in an area just south of Wadena eastward to the Pillsbury State Forest where winds were in excess of 100mph in places. Significant damage was done to resorts on Gull and North Long Lake as well as the grandstand at the Brainerd International Raceway..."
Screenshot credit: Aeris Pulse.
Photo credit above: "This aerial photo shows a damaged home after a tornado ripped through the area, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015 in Texas. Residents surveyed the destruction from deadly tornadoes in North Texas as the same storm system brought winter woes to the Midwest on Monday, amplifying flooding that's blamed for more than a dozen deaths and prompting hundreds of flight cancellations. At least 11 people died and dozens were injured in the tornadoes that swept through the Dallas area Saturday and caused substantial damage." (G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
* Early estimates of tornado-related damage in Texas: $1.2 billion.
Image credit above: "Images show the three dealiest "tornadic thunderstorms" in Florida." (Melbourne Weather Forecast Office).
Photo credit above: "Adams Drive in Key Largo, Florida has been flooded for nearly a month, after high tides were exacerbated by a super moon." (AFP Photo/Kerry Sheridan).
Picture of Eastern Colorado Tornado Wins National Geographic Photo Contest. Here's the intro to an explanation at NatGeo: "A picture of a tornado that touched down 50 miles northeast of Colorado Springs last summer has been chosen as the grand-prize winner of the 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest. The winning twister was one of as many as five tornadoes that touched down in the Simla area on June 4, damaging sheds, barns and outbuildings. The photograph was captured by James Smart of Melbourne, Australia. Smart took the award winning picture on the last day of a 15 day storm chasing tour..."
Photo credit above: Photo by James Smart / Provided by National Geographic.
Winter Weather 2015: Severe Weather Disrupting U.S. Oil, Gas Production. Here's a snippet from International Business Times that caught my eye: "...Natural gas prices have plunged due to the recent spell of unusually warm weather in the Eastern United States, which drove down demand for household heating. Several states recorded record high temperatures around Christmas, with temperatures reaching 72 degrees in New York City Dec. 24 and hitting 68 degrees in Burlington, Vermont, Dec. 25. Natural gas futures this month traded at the lowest levels since 1999, with gas closing at $1.79 per million British thermal units Dec. 15. Now, with forecasts showing warmer weather on the horizon in January, natural gas futures are surging. Futures for February rose more than 5 percent Tuesday to $2.372 per unit..."
NEW YEAR'S DAY: Cold start, not as harsh PM hours with some sun. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 28
SATURDAY: Sunny spells, chance of a thaw. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 18. High; 33
SUNDAY: Blue sky, light winds, good travel. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 17. High: near 30
MONDAY: More clouds than sun. Wake-up: 18. High: 29
TUESDAY: Patchy clouds, few flurries possible. Wake-up: 19. High: 32
WEDNESDAY: Intervals of sun, still quiet. Wake-up: 17. High: near 30
U.S. Views on Climate Change Pose Test for 2016 Candidates. Financial Times explains the paradox: Americans are increasingly concerned, but wary if taking action imposes costs. If the GOP candidate denies the science swing voters may be turned off, if the Democratic nominee has a road map for action that is deemed too costly or "job-killing" there may be a similar backlash. Here's an excerpt from Financial Times: "Barry Rabe, who has done extensive analysis of opinion polls, says: “All the evidence suggests there is growing concern about this issue, but limited evidence that that translates to any groundswell of support for any particular policy, especially one that imposes costs.” Mr Rabe, a public policy professor at the University of Michigan, says the lack of a “pivot” from concern to action has created a paradox, which the eventual 2016 nominees will have to navigate in November’s general election. The Republicans’ candidate cannot afford to alienate swing voters by appearing insufficiently worried; the Democratic nominee, expected to be Hillary Clinton, cannot risk turning them off with overly-aggressive solutions..."
Image credit: Voice of America.
- from a Quartz essay on the perils and promise of AI, available here.
Highlights of Climate Change Research in 2015. Greg Laden takes a look at some of the biggest headlines of the year related to climate science; here's the intro: "The following is a list of posts on this blog that report new climate change research, usually but not always from the peer reviewed literature, or posts that are longer essays intended to give context to ongoing climate change research. The first few posts are from December 2014, which addresses the fact that “year end summaries” tend to be written during December, or even before, so December of any given year gets the shaft.
- December 2014 – How scientists unraveled the El Niño mystery
- December 2014 – New Research on Tree Rings as Indicators of Past Climate
- December 2014 – Global Temperature A Century Ago Vs. Today..."