Monday, July 18, 2016

Dangerous Levels of Heat and Humidity Wednesday into Friday

88 F. high temperature at KMSP Monday.

84 F. average high on July 18.

88 F. high on July 18, 2015.

July 19, 1987: The town of Floodwood lives up to its name with nearly 6 inches of rain in two days.

Dangerous Heat Index Wednesday into Friday

"Hey Paul, hot enough for 'ya?" LOL. That never gets old. Thanks for asking!

I prefer Venus, where the surface temperature is a toasty 864F. But this is a good start. To quote Yogi Berra "it's not the heat, it's the humility." Or humidity for that matter.

The warming signal is manifesting itself with a longer growing season; winters trending milder overall. Summers aren't appreciably hotter (yet) but we are seeing more days with dew points in the 70s, even 80s. All this extra water in the air makes it harder for your body to cool itself naturally via perspiration.

Evaporating sweat has a cooling effect, but this natural A/C breaks down on hyper-tropical days.

Models suggest a dew point of 80F by Thursday, with an air temperature of 97F. It may feel like 110F by late afternoon. I see potential dangerous heat indices Wednesday into Friday, and that's why NOAA has issued an Excessive Heat Watch. I suspect they will upgrade to warnings shortly. Storms and "cooler" 80s return for the weekend, but the next 72-96 hours will be a mash-up of Scottsdale, AZ and Naples, FL.

Mostly nasty.

Preparations Before Extreme Heat. Here are a few bullet points from some timely reminders at
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
  • Keep storm windows up all year.
  • Listen to local weather forecasts and stay aware of upcoming temperature changes.
  • Know those in your neighborhood who are elderly, young, sick or overweight. They are more likely to become victims of excessive heat and may need help.
  • Be aware that people living in urban areas may be at greater risk from the effects of a prolonged heat wave than are people living in rural areas.
Thursday Maximum Heat Index Outlook: NOAA NCEP.

2 in 3 Shot at 110F Heat Index Thursday In The Metro. The urban heat island will add a few degrees to the heat index, on top of dew points in the upper 70s and a surface temperature of 95-100F. I fully expect Excessive Heat Watches to be upgraded to Excessive Heat Warnings, at least for the metro area.

Ridge-Riders Along Leading Edge of Oppressive Heat. NOAA's 4km NAM model prints out a few heavy T-storms late Tuesday, Tuesday night into Wednesday morning as jungle-like heat expanding northward across the Plains ignites severe instability. Locally heavy rainfall amounts are possible - with this much water in the air anything is possible. 60-hour accumulated rainfall: NOAA and AerisWeather.

3-Day Sizzle, Then Weekend Relief. Not to minimize the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, especially in and near the urban core of Minneapolis and St. Paul, but it's really 72 hours of relative pain, not a week or two. ECMWF guidance shows upper 70s and low 80s returning by the weekend as winds swing around to the north. Meteogram: WeatherBell.

Criteria for Heat Advisories, Watches and Warnings. Here's more information from the Twin Cities  office of the National Weather Service about heat-related criteria; when they pull the trigger on advisories,  watches and warnings:

Heat Index: A number in degrees Fahrenheit (F) that tells how hot it feels when relative humidity is added to the air temperature. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15 degrees.

Excessive Heat Watch (Usually issued 2-4 days ahead of time) : Forecast Conditions are favorable for the heat index to meet or exceed 100 degrees (Hennepin/Ramsey counties) or 105  (the remainder of central and south central MN and west central WI)

Excessive Heat Warning (Usually issued 1-2 days ahead of time when confidence is 80% or higher): Heat index values are forecast to reach 100 degrees Hennepin/Ramsey counties) or 105 (the remainder of central and south central MN and west central WI)

Heat Advisory: Heat index values are forecast to reach 95 degrees (Hennepin/Ramsey counties) or 100 for the remainder of central and south central MN and west central WI

La Nina Effects Alive and Well Across U.S. Corn, Soy Belt. Here's a clip from a story at Reuters: "La Niña or not?" That has been one of the central debates in the agriculture markets in recent weeks. Since the beginning of the year, meteorologists have been warning that La Niña, the cool phase of the tropical Pacific Ocean, could begin at the start of the U.S. summer and could potentially place a high weather risk on the world’s largest corn and soybean crops. Since we are not yet in a full-blast La Niña, some have begun to doubt La Niña's presence or whether it is coming at all. Many weather watchers in the commodities space correctly point to the fact that on the presumed journey to La Niña, we are lagging key analog years such as 1998 and 2010..."

Photo credit: "A sprinkler waters corn in Los Banos, California, United States May 5, 2015." Reuters/Lucy Nicholson.

30th Anniversary of the KARE-11 (Sky 11) Brooklyn Park Tornado. Where were you when this thing popped up on TV? Chance are you remember. I know where I was, in Studio A at KARE, watching the jaw-dropping live video from photographer Tom Empey and Sky 11 pilot Max Messmer. Tom was testing out a new "gyro-zoom lens" on his video camera, which enabled him to capture smooth imagery, without the normal vibrations found in a chopper. The result was an almost hypnotic video narrative that left viewers spellbound, providing raw footage for tornado researchers worldwide. Here's a link to tornado video highlights from KARE-11: "It was 30 years ago today when KARE 11's helicopter Sky 11 captured unbelievable footage of a tornado moving through Fridley. The video, which was broadcast live during the 5 p.m. news, soon went global -- giving viewers a rare look at a twister from an above-ground vantage point. KARE's then-chopper pilot Max Messmer and photographer Tom Empey were sent to capture some footage, after covering the first day of the Minneapolis Aquatennial but the destruction and intense viewpoint they discovered soon made history. Watch the footage above, as reported by Allen Costantini on the 20th anniversary."

* The full TV newscast, a news show like no other (ever) is here, courtesy of KARE-11 and YouTube.

* Check out the new and improved Springbrook Nature Center for yourself. This is where the July 18, 1986 tornado spent most of its time, ripping trees out of the park as if they were weeds. You can still see some evidence of the tornado, but park staff and volunteers have done a wonderful job creating a remarkable urban park unlike any other in the Twin Cities metro.

Deadliest State for Tornadoes? Alabama. Huh? In its defense, residents of Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas - the heart of "Tornado Alley" are generally more tornado-aware; it's easier to spot and track deadly tornadoes on the Plains than hilly,  wooded sections of the Mid South, and many tornadoes east of the Mississippi are rain-wrapped and very hard to see, especially at night. Throw in more trailer parks (per capita) and you have a higher overall risk for Alabama than Oklahoma, according to KOCO-TV: "Over the last 30 years the state with the most tornado-related deaths is Alabama. Alabama averages 14 tornado-related fatalities each year, followed by Missouri with eight.  Arkansas averages five each year and Texas, Mississippi, Georgia and Oklahoma all average four. The major tornado outbreak of 2011 pushed Alabama's and Missouri’s averages way up with the Joplin tornado responsible for 161 deaths and tornadoes in Alabama killing 238 on April 27 and 28..." (Map: NOAA SPC).

A Dreaded Forecast for Our Times: Algae, and Lot's Of It. Here's an excerpt of a vaguely disturbing New York Times story: "Every Thursday night, Bill Korbel, a veteran meteorologist, offers his standard weather forecast to viewers on a Long Island cable channel. Then he follows up with his outlook for toxic algae. On a map, Mr. Korbel points out areas with high concentrations of algae — natural gatherings of microscopic plankton that, while often innocuous, can degrade water quality and even be dangerous. “Brown or red tide is much catchier than harmful algal bloom,” Mr. Korbel joked about the right wording to use in his broadcast. It’s a relatively new topic for him, something that was never part of his decades-long career..."

Image credit: "A satellite image showing an algal bloom that caused a temporary ban on using tap water in Toledo, Ohio, in 2014." Credit National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Air Quality of Chinese Cities Improves in First Half of 2016. Xinhua reports: "The air quality in 338 Chinese cities showed improvements in the first half of this year, said the Ministry of Environmental Protection Sunday. Beijing, Tianjin and 11 main cities in north China's Hebei Province, an industrial zone troubled by air pollution, saw cleaner skies with about 57.4 percent of the January-June period having "good air quality", 11 percentage points higher than the first half of 2015, said Luo Yi, head of the ministry's environment monitoring division..." (File photo: AP).

You'll Never Believe How Cheap New Solar Power Is. At some point it'll just be stupid for consumers and corporations not to take advantage of (cheaper) renewable, uniquely American energy solutions. Here's a clip at ThinkProgress: "Solar energy has grown 100-fold in this country in the past decade. Globally, solar has doubled seven times since 2000, and Dubai received a bid recently for 800 megawatts of solar at a stunning “US 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour” — unsubsidized! For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. Solar energy has been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected just a few years ago thanks to aggressive market-based deployment efforts around the globe. Since it’s hard to keep up with the speed-of-light changes, and this is the fuel that will power more and more of the global economy in the near future, here are all the latest charts and facts to understand it..." (File photo: businessgreen.comm).

Conservative Approaches to Clean Energy: Innovative Solutions for the 21st Century. I'm looking forward to participating in the conference next Monday, courtesy of Citizens League. Where is the common ground? Can we all agree we want more energy, at less cost, with fewer unpleasant or unhealthy side effects? We want choice, resilience and alternatives to "the grid": "You don’t often hear the terms “clean energy” and “conservative” in the same sentence, but that hides the fact that a new generation of conservative policy thinkers have turned their attention to the economics of the energy marketplace. Both nationally and here in Minnesota conservatives have been putting some meat on the bones of their “all of the above” strategy, coming up with innovative solutions to building a 21st century energy marketplace. They argue that technological innovations in energy generation can have the same effect in the energy marketplace as mobile phones did in telecommunications, and that it is time conservatives embrace the possibilities..."

Artificial Intelligence Swarms Silicon Valley on Wings and Wheels. Here's an excerpt from an interesting New York Times story: "...Now Silicon Valley has found its next shiny new thing. And it does not have a “Like” button. The new era in Silicon Valley centers on artificial intelligence and robots, a transformation that many believe will have a payoff on the scale of the personal computing industry or the commercial internet, two previous generations that spread computing globally. Computers have begun to speak, listen and see, as well as sprout legs, wings and wheels to move unfettered in the world..."

TODAY: Sticky sun, late T-storm possible. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 90

TUESDAY NIGHT: Risk of a few heavy T-storms. Low: 74

WEDNESDAY: Excessive Heat Watch. AM storms, PM sun. Feels like 105F. High: 93

THURSDAY: Heat wave peaks. Dangerously hot. Feels like 110F+ Wake-up: 78. High: 97

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, still beastly hot. Wake-up: 80. High: 95

SATURDAY: Not as hot; few T-storms possible. Winds: SE 8-13.  Wake-up: 75. High: 87

SUNDAY: Cooler but unsettled, few T-storms. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 68. High: 81

MONDAY: Breathing easier. PM shower risk. Wake-up: 65. High: near 80

Climate Stories...

Most Republicans Who Care About Climate Change are Skipping the Convention. Grist has the story: "Most congressional Republicans with even a hint of moderation on climate change are distancing themselves from Donald Trump and won’t be present for his nomination in Cleveland this week. Four of the five Republican senators with a record of supporting climate action are skipping this year’s Republican National Convention, which begins on Monday. They are Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and John McCain of Arizona..."

Photo credit: REUTERS/Rick Wilking.

Climate Change is Making Farm Work More Dangerous Than It Already Is. FUSION has an interesting story; here's an excerpt: "...There can be little argument that farm workers are among the most at-risk. “There is absolutely an association between climate change and the health of agricultural workers,” said Dr. Marc Schenker, director at the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at UC Davis. “The health effects of climate change on workers are diverse, and range from heat stress to infectious diseases, and possibly kidney disease...” (Image credit: Omar Bustamante/FUSION).

Gazette Editorial: Floods Part of Climate Change in West Virginia. The Charleston Gazette-Mail has an Ope-Ed; here's the intro: "Several national climate experts said the severity of the Mountain State devastation during the recent flood was almost certainly worsened by human-caused global warming. Climate change contributes to more extreme storms, floods, droughts, wildfires  and other weather-related dangers. That means West Virginia is among the places where effects of climate change are being felt by people now, not in some distant, hypothetical future..."

Photo credit: "A flooded intersection in downtown Richwood on Friday, June 24." Christian Tyler Randolph,  Gazette-Mail.

A New Climate Change Documentary Focuses on Solutions, Not Doom. Popular Science takes a look: "...Time to Choose, released this past month, is the latest documentary to attempt to tackle the subject and succeeds in many ways where other climate change documentaries released since the seminal “An Inconvenient Truth” have failed. Written and directed by the award winning filmmaker Charles Ferguson (No End in Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq, Inside Job), and produced by cleantech entrepreneur Tom Dinwoodie, the film aims to effectively and truthfully explain the solutions to climate change that we have at our disposal, and just how feasible and realistic these solutions are, rather than beating the viewer over the head with all the ways the apocalypse will occur. In this way, it’s already a more welcome and informative watch than most documentaries with an environmental cause..."
A flooded intersection in downtown Richwood on Friday, June 24
- See more at:
Several national climate experts said the severity of the Mountain State devastation during the recent flood was almost certainly worsened by human-caused global warming.
Climate change contributes to more extreme storms, floods, droughts, wildfires and other weather-related dangers. That means West Virginia is among the places where effects of climate change are being felt by people now, not in some distant, hypothetical future.
West Virginia terrain has always been prone to flash floods, as residents well remember and as the Sunday Gazette-Mail documented back to 1916. In Appalachia’s mountains, people live on slopes and in valleys, making them vulnerable to random, unpredictable washouts. Ominously, the menace may worsen as climate change proceeds.
- See more at:

Canada to Introduce National Carbon Price in 2016, Minister Says. Bloomberg reports: "Canada will have a national price on carbon emissions by the end of this year, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says. The federal government will publish an emissions reduction plan this fall that could include expanded, standardized emissions disclosure requirements for companies, McKenna said in an interview with Danielle Bochove on Bloomberg TV Canada..."

Deja Vu: As With Tobacco, The Climate Wars Are Going to Court. That should make the lawyers happy. Here's an excerpt from The Guardian: "Investigative journalism has uncovered a “web of denial” in which polluting industries pay “independent” groups to disseminate misinformation to the public and policymakers. The same groups and tactics were employed first by the tobacco industry, then fossil fuel companies. Big Tobacco has been to court and lost; now it’s Big Oil’s turn. Political leaders are choosing sides in this war. Research by Inside Climate News revealed that Exxon did top notch climate science research in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which revealed the dangers its products posed via climate change. Soon thereafter, Exxon launched misinformation campaigns by funding “think tanks” and front groups to manufacture doubt about climate science and the expert consensus on human-caused global warming..."

Graphics credit: "What #ExxonKnew vs what #ExxonDid." Illustration: John Cook,

For Republicans, Clean Energy Boom, Shifting Ties Test Climate Change Stance. Here's an excerpt from The Houston Chronicle: "...As Republicans maintain their party's long-standing blockade against action to reduce carbon emissions, they also are embracing a renewable energy industry that is driving investment and jobs in GOP strongholds like Texas. The balancing act comes as the battle lines around climate change are being redrawn. Exxon Mobil, the country's largest oil company, is supporting a tax on carbon emissions, falling in line with European competitors like BP and Royal Dutch Shell. Prominent Republican donors are putting millions into the congressional campaigns of candidates willing to offer their support for the renewable energy industry..."

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