Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hottest Stretch of Summer? Feels Like 100-110F Next 3 Afternoons

87 F. high temperature Tuesday in the Twin Cities.
84 F. average high on July 19.
84 F. high on July 19, 2015.

July 20, 1951: A tornado hits Minneapolis and Richfield, killing five people.
July 20, 1909: 10.75 inches of rain falls in 24 hours at Beaulieu in Mahnomen County. This record would stand for over 50 years. Bagley receives an estimated 10 inches.

Excessive Heat Warning Posted Thru Friday

Here's a forecast with rare 100 percent accuracy. Men will sweat. Women will glow. Dogs will pant. All of us will wonder (out loud) how Minnesota can possibly get this hot? 5 months ago some of us were driving on area lakes. Now they're an inviting refuge from jungle-like heat.

An Excessive Heat Warning means a significant risk of heat-related ailments into Friday. The ill and the elderly are most vulnerable. Staying hydrated and avoiding afternoon sun helps, but the threat is real. We're just not acclimated to this level of heat and humidity, more typical of the Middle East than the Midwest.

Reminder: check on friends and family, don't even THINK about leaving kids in the car, and don't forget about pets! They feel the heat as much as we do.

The arrival of tropical heat sets off a few T-storms today; enough afternoon sun for low 90s with a heat index of 100-105F. Mid 90s and a dew point near 80F tomorrow (ack!) will make it feel like 110F by the dinner hour.

Severe storms on Saturday mark the leading edge of sweet relief. Low 80s early next week will feel like a vacation.

Heat Index Peaks Thursday. The combination of 90s and excessive dew points (near or above 80F) reaches a nasty zenith Thursday evening, when it may feel like 110F out there. Time to drag the sofa into the nearest pond or lake. Meteogram:  Aeris Enterprise.

What Makes This Heat Spike Different. It's been hotter in the past, much hotter, in fact. But it's exceedingly rare to see dew points at or above 80F. That's what the ECMWF (European) model and some of NOAA's models are predicting for Thursday evening; ghastly humid. Like something you might find in the Persian Gulf or Bora Bora. 7 pm predicted dew point on Thursday: NOAA and WeatherBell.

3 Sweaty Days, Then Weekend Relief. We can and will get through this sauna-like stretch for 72 hours, a wind shift pulling cooler, Canadian air south over the weekend; high temperatures next week much closer to average for this time of year.








Preparations Before Extreme Heat. Here are a few bullet points from some timely reminders at ready.gov:
  • 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.

Dangerous Heat Wave to Scorch U.S. No kidding. Here's an excerpt from USA TODAY: "Temperatures over 100 degrees and brutally high humidity will combine to deliver a potentially dangerous heat wave to much of the central and southern U.S. this week. "This may be one of the worst heat waves in the last few decades," the National Weather Service warned. Some 130 million Americans will endure heat indexes of at least 100 degrees, according to the Weather Channel..." (Thursday GFS temperature anomaly: Climate Reanalyzer).

Is "Corn Sweat" Making The Heat Wave Worse? Probably, by at least a couple of degrees. Angela Fritz explains at Capital Weather Gang: "...Corn sweat is an extremely simple way of referring to evapotranspiration, the process by which moisture in plant leaves evaporates into the air. Plants draw water out of the ground through their roots for photosynthesis, and the water in the plant cells is exposed to the air once it gets above the ground. It evaporates off the leaves just as sweat evaporates off our skin — although it doesn’t take place to keep the plant cool, like it does for us. So evapotranspiration is not making things hotter. But it is making things more humid — which can certainly be just as bad..."

Map credit: "Corn acreage by county in 2015." (USDA).

Florida Tops Nation in Deadly Combination of Heat and Humidity. No big surprise here, if you've ever been to Orlando in August. Here's an excerpt from The Miami Herald: "As climate change warms the planet, you can bet Florida will feel the heat. The sunshine state, according to a study released Wednesday by Climate Central, tops the nation in the number of metro areas expected to see a dangerous combination of heat and humidity, driving heat index temperatures to 104 degrees. By 2050, all 13 cities on the list, including Miami, Tampa, Naples and Vero Beach, will see 100-plus days a year of the miserable mix that can cause a host of health problems and even death — meaning more weather that feels like South Florida’s last few sticky, searing weeks... (Image credit: NASA).

Hottest June on Record, Worldwide. Continuing the trend. Here's an excerpt from HotWhopper: "According to GISS NASA, the average global surface temperature anomaly for June was 0.79 °C, which just pipped June 2015 (0.78 C) and June 1998 (0.77 °C). Last month is only the second time in nine months that the GISTemp monthly anomaly is less than one degree Celsius above the average from 1951-1980. It probably won't be the last, now that El Nino is over. The average for the six months to the end of June is 1.09 °C, which is 0.28 °C higher than any previous January to June period. The previous highest was last year, which with the latest data had an anomaly of 0.81 °C...."

Graphic credit: "Global mean surface temperature, progressive year to date to June 2016." Data source. GISS NASA

Arctic Sea Ice Falls To Record Low in June. Here's the intro to a story at UPI.com: "Sea ice cover in the Arctic beat a hasty retreat throughout June, reaching record-breaking levels by month's end. Data published by the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center last week showed average sea ice extent for June was 100,000 square miles smaller than in 2010, the year of the previous June record. Almost every month this year has set new record lows for sea ice extent. March, however, was the second-lowest, slightly greater than 2015. The average sea ice extent for June was 4.09 million square miles..."

Photo credit: "Sea ice patterns in the Arctic Ocean." Photo by Kathryn Hansen/NASA

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article89216662.html#storylink=cpy

Flame Broiled Alaska: With Soaring Temperatures and Crackling Lightning, Wildfires Erupt Across the State. Here's an excerpt from Discover Magazine: "After months of record-setting warmth culminating in extremely high temperatures last week, much of Alaska was primed for wildfire. Things had been quiet until then, despite the warmest January through June period in Alaska since 1895. Then the lightning came — with a sudden vengeance: some 45,570 strikes between July 13 and 16th. The result: Flames finally exploded through Alaskan landscapes, with 114 new wildfires resulting in a more-than-100,000-acre increase in the total number of acres burned in Alaska this season, according to the Alaska Division of Forestry..."

Image credit: "Natural and false-color satellite views of wildfires in Alaska on July 15th, 2016." (Source: NASA Worldview).

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).

Supercell. My thanks to Alan Broerse for passing this amazing image along.

Warming Could Mean More Algae Blooms Like Florida's. Some perspective from Climate Central: "...A 2015 study that Havens co-authored found that 70 percent of 235 freshwater lakes around the world were warming faster than the oceans. On average, they have warmed by 0.61°F (0.34°C) per decade over the last 25 years. In some cases, lakes were warming even faster than the local air temperature. Florida is a spot where lakes have been warming more slowly, though why is unclear, Havens said. Warmer water temperatures could provide a more favorable environment for algae to grow and affect where they occur, how quickly they grow and how toxic they are. The 2015 study found that such blooms should be expected to increase by 20 percent in lakes..."

Image credit: "The algae bloom had reached nearly 240 square miles by mid-July. This satellite photo was taken on July 2, 2016." Credit: NASA

Conservative Approaches to Clean Energy: Innovative Solutions for the 21st Century. I'm looking forward to participating in this conference next Monday in Minneapolis, 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. We hope to see you there: "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. 

On July 25th the Citizens League will be joining with the Minnesota Conservative Energy Forum to host an event featuring both national and state policy thinkers to explore the growing movement of conservatives embracing both technological and marketplace innovations in delivering energy to consumers. Join us for what will prove to be a surprising and interesting conversation...."

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: Isolated T-storm, steamy with a heat index topping 100F this afternoon. Winds: S 10-15. High: 92

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Warm and sultry. Low: 79 (may stay above 80F in the downtowns)

THURSDAY:  Heat Warning. Sizzling sunshine. Feels like 105-110F. Winds: S 7-12. High: 96

FRIDAY: Plenty of sun, still stinking hot. Still feels like 100F+ Wake-up: 77. High: 92

SATURDAY: T-storms may be severe. Still sticky. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 74. High: 89

SUNDAY: Some relief, few PM showers, lower humidity. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 70. High: 84

MONDAY: Partly sunny, much more tolerable. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 67. High: 81

TUESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, not bad at all. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 65. High: 82

* Rainbow photo credit: The Atlantic.

Climate Stories...

Increased Asthma Attacks Tied To Exposure to Natural Gas Production. InsideClimate News has the story; here's the intro: "Exposure to more intense shale gas development correlates with a higher risk of asthma attacks among asthma patients, according to a new study of Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale, one of the nation's largest and most active fracking regions. The paper, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, a publication of the American Medical Association, didn't examine the exact cause of the trend. But lead author Sara Rasmussen, a Ph.D. candidate in environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said air pollution and stress are both plausible explanations..."

Photo credit: "Natural gas operations in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region were studied for ties to increased asthma attacks." Credit: Wikimedia.

All About The Bass. Ask trout fishermen in Montana if things are warming up. Here's an excerpt from The Economist: "...For these fine fishing conditions—with the water running clear after months of turbid flows from spring snowmelt, and the temperature at 65°F (18.3°C)—have arrived too early, by some weeks. The water should be ten degrees cooler, frowns Mr Vermillion, and data retrieved by his smartphone from a nearby measuring station shows flows at less than half their historical median level. All rivers vary from year to year. What worries federal wildlife officials, state biologists and a growing number of devoted anglers across the mountain West, is that, for the past 15 years, some of America’s finest fishing rivers keep breaking records for early snowmelts, too-warm water and low flows..."

Study Role of Climate Change in Extreme Threats to Water Quality. Here's a clip from new research highlighted at Nature: "...Because the most severe water-quality impacts are exacerbated by weather, climate plays a part. Runoff of nutrients from farmland spikes after heavy rains; warm temperatures accelerate the growth of bacteria and phytoplankton. As climate change alters weather patterns and variability, conditions conducive to severe water impairment are likely to become more frequent. Yet there has been scant study of how climate will affect the occurrence of the extreme events that relate to water quality rather than quantity. We do not know how to relate water-quality extremes, their causes, their severity or their occurrence directly to changes in climate. It is time to plug this knowledge gap..."

Photo credit: Greg Lovett/Palm Beach Post via ZUMA Wire. "An algal bloom in Stuart, Florida, in June led to a state of emergency."

For Climate Migrants, Dignity Matters As Much as Safety. Here's an excerpt of a poignant post at Thomson Reuters: "...Similarly, climate risk and adaptation tools should consider not only risks to life but also risks to dignity, so as to ensure urban resilience plans; policies and practices don’t trample on the dignity and respect of people in well-intended efforts to protect lives. In the absence of an overarching international legal framework for the protection of the rights and dignity of people affected by climate extremes, the fate of millions is left to the discretion and capacities of local authorities, and the objectives of political and religious charities. It is high time that we push for an international legal framework, on the lines of human rights law, that has the teeth to push for the rights and dignity of climate-affected people..."

Photo credit: "Boys look for recyclable items in the waters of river Yamuna on a smoggy morning in New Delhi, India, December 1, 2015." REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee.

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.

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