Saturday, August 6, 2016

3-Star, Blue-Ribbon, Award-Winning Sunday - Potential for Extreme Flooding Florida Panhandle This Week

82 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.
82 F. average high on August 6.
74 F. high on August 6, 2015.

August 7, 1968: 7.09 inches of rain falls at Mankato. 1,200 homes are damaged. Highways 169 and 22 are blocked by mudslides.
August 7, 1955: The climate record of George W. Richards of Maple Plain ends. He recorded weather data with lively notations on phenology and weather events. He began taking observations when he was eleven in 1883. He continued to take observations for 72 years, with 66 years as a National Weather Service Cooperator.
August 7, 1896: The final day of a massive heat wave brings highs of 104 to Le Sueur and Mazeppa.
August 7, 1863: A Forest City observer sees what he calls a 'perfect tornado.' He noted that it 'drove principally from west to east and lasted about one half hour.'

Postcard Perfect Sunday - Sticky by Midweek

"The things you own end up owning you. It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything" said Fight Club's Chuck Palahniuk.

Amen. I fear my wife and I may show up on an episode of "Hoarders" any day now. For 35 years we've been self-medicating with furniture, clothes & electronics. "Will this purchase complete you?" I ask, knowing the answer. We now have a warehouse of stuff nobody wants, including us.

Which is ironic because the world insists that things will make you happy. When in fact people, friendships, experiences and giving back are the metrics that matter.

A sunny, quiet weekend can be a welcome tonic for the soul and Minnesota's weather winning streak continues today with low 80s, comfortable dew points, cotton candy cumulus clouds and an imperceptible breeze. Perfect.

Expect upper 80s by midweek with drippy dew points above 70F, but ECMWF guidance hints at another cool push by next weekend.

More evidence of weather getting "stuck". Florida may see some 15 inch rains over the next week from a nearly stationary storm aloft. Another "mega-rain".

Cause For Concern. We've had a few model runs in a row (NOAA, ECMWF, UKMET and others) with extreme rainfall amounts predicted for the Gulf Coast this week, especially the Florida Panhandle. This could easily wind up being a tropical storm's worth of rain, as much as 10-20" from Mobile to Pensacola and Panama City. Serious flash flooding is possible from New Orleans to Tampa, but the most extreme flooding may occur along the Emerald Coast. 10 day ECMWF rainfall forecast courtesy of WeatherBell.

July: Much Wetter Than Average for Much of Minnesota. So says Dr. Mark Seeley in the latest edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk: "...The monthly total rainfall was above normal for most places in the state, except for a few northern communities which were drier than normal. Many climate observers reported total monthly rainfall that was 2-3 times normal, and on a statewide basis it was the 4th wettest July in history and wettest since 1993. For many communities it was the wettest July in history, including:

11.65 inches at Brainerd
10.02 inches at Mora
13.44 inches at Garrison
11.14 inches at Longville
9.92 inches at Bruno
9.88 inches at Morris
9.12 inches at St James

July Weather Recap from Minnesota HydroClim. Here's an excerpt from the latest update, courtesy of the Minnesota DNR and State Climatology Office: "...It was a wet and stormy July for many sections of Minnesota. Precipitation totals in July were well above normal across central, parts of northern and south central Minnesota. The rest of the state was close to normal. Central Minnesota was the wettest with Mora in Kanabec County seeing 10.02 inches of rain and Brainerd in Crow Wing County seeing 11.65 inches of rain for the month. Normal July precipitation for these areas is about four inches. The last two weeks of July were relatively dry in some southwest Minnesota counties, with some locations seeing a half an inch or less..."

Whisper of a Breeze. It's rare to see winds this light anytime during the year, but under the center of a Canadian high pressure bubble expect sustained winds around 5 mph this afternoon with generous sunshine and low humidity - some of the best weather in the USA. Data: Aeris Enterprise.

Muggy Midweek, Then Cooling Off Next Weekend. ECMWF guidance shows temperatures and dew points on the rise into midweek, when the mercury may brush 90 degrees in the Twin Cities. We cool down by next weekend as surface winds blow from the northwest. Meteogram: WeatherBell.

Soggy Late Week. The best chance of heavy showers and T-storms is expected Thursday, along the leading edge of cooler, Canadian air. Models hint at some 1-2" rainfall amounts late Wednesday into Friday.

Edge Comes Off The Heat Northern USA. A parade of Canadian fronts will prevent sustained heat from the Dakotas into Minnesota, Wisconnsin and the Great Lakes, but the 2-week GFS forecast for 500mb (18,000 foot) winds suggests sizzling heat continuing from California across much of the southern USA.

Wet, Warm and Wild. Here's an excerpt from the AerisWeather Blog: "A total of 22 locations saw a top ten wettest July on record, mainly across the mid-section of the country. A few location up in the Northwest, however, did break into the top ten as well. Some of these top ten locations included:
  • Wichita, KS (9.67″)
  • Columbia, MO (10.91″)
  • Bismarck, ND (5.10″)
  • New York-JFK Airport (6.06″)
  • Glasgow, MT (3.42″)

Improving Hurricane Intensity Forecasts. Models do a pretty good job with hurricane track, but intensity is much more difficult to predict. NASA is about to launch 8 new CYGNSS "micro-satellites" that may help; here's an excerpt: "Hurricane track forecast accuracy has improved since 1990, but there has been little improvement in intensity forecast accuracy. A new NASA mission using eight micro-satellites will make accurate measurements of ocean surface winds in and near the eye of the storm throughout the lifecycle of tropical cyclones, typhoons & hurricanes. The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) will probe the inner core of hurricanes to learn about their rapid intensification. The mission will launch on Nov. 21, 2016, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on a Pegasus XL rocket. The University of Michigan is developing CYGNSS..." (Image credit: NASA).

How Soviet and American Hurricane Fliers Set Aside Cold War Politics for Science. Jack Williams has a fascinating story at Capital Weather Gang; here's a clip that made me do a double-take: "...Unknown to the United States before Gilbert, Russian airplanes had flown out of Cuba into Hurricane Emily in 1987, Hurricane Floyd and Tropical Storm Chris the month before Gilbert. After Gilbert in 1988, the Russians flew into Hurricanes Gabrielle and Hugo, Tropical Storm Iris and Hurricane Jerry in 1989. In 1990, they flew into Hurricane Klaus and Tropical Storm Marco. The Russians also flew into several Pacific Ocean typhoons out of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (commonly called North Vietnam in the United States) from 1984 until 1990. They didn’t risk conflicts with U.S. hurricane hunters; the United States had ended typhoon flights in 1987..."
Image credit: "Hurricane Gilbert, 1988." (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Got An Extreme Weather Event? NOAA Tool Searches for Climate Link. Here's more information from InsideClimate News: "...Now, a new searchable tool from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows, county by county, whether or how climate change will change the likelihood of these extreme events in the decades to come. The project is an updated version of NOAA's interactive Climate Explorer, part of the agency's U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit. David Herring, the toolkit's program manager, said the site was designed to allow local governments, small business owners and natural resource managers to plan for a future of warming-fueled extreme weather. The Explorer includes maps and charts on how temperature and precipitation patterns could change on a local level through 2100..."

Do Oil Companies Really Need $4 Billion Per Year of Taxpayers' Money? The New York Times reports: "What would happen if the federal government ended its subsidies to companies that drill for oil and gas? The American oil and gas industry has argued that such a move would leave the United States more dependent on foreign energy. Many environmental activists counter that ending subsidies could move the United States toward a future free of fossil fuels — helping it curtail its emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere..."

Photo credit: "Natural gas being flared off at a site in North Dakota." Jim Wilson / The New York Times.

Clean Air and Healthy Communities Can't Be Optional. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at TheHill: "...Pollution that she knows is making her children and others sick even as she and her neighbors pay higher utility bills than neighbors in less polluted areas. In low-income communities and communities of color throughout the country, stories like Washington's are common - and unnecessary. 68% of African-Americans live within 30 miles of a coal plant, major sources of deadly pollutants. 80% of Latinos live in areas that don't meet federal EPA airquality standards. Systemic racism inpacts the very air we breathe..."
Health Secrets of the Amish. Here's a segment I'd like to see on QVC. Turns out tracking dirt into the house may not be such a bad thing, after all. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...The findings also reiterate the theme that genes aren’t destiny. Disease emerges from the dance between genes and environment. The asthma epidemic may stem, at least in part, from the decline of what Graham Rook, an immunologist at University College London, years ago called our “old friends” — the organisms our immune systems expect to be present in the environment. The newly sneezing upper classes in the 19th century may have been the first to find themselves without these old friends. Now most of the developed world has lost them. The task at hand is to figure out how to get them back. One answer may come from the Amish cowshed." (File image: Wikipedia).

This Company Has Built a Profile On Every American Adult. This article from Bloomberg scores a 10 on the creep-o-meter; here's an excerpt: "...IDI, a year-old company in the so-called data-fusion business, is the first to centralize and weaponize all that information for its customers. The Boca Raton, Fla., company’s database service, idiCORE, combines public records with purchasing, demographic, and behavioral data. Chief Executive Officer Derek Dubner says the system isn’t waiting for requests from clients—it’s already built a profile on every American adult, including young people who wouldn’t be swept up in conventional databases, which only index transactions. “We have data on that 21-year-old who’s living at home with mom and dad,” he says..."

TODAY: Spectacularly sunny - still comfortable. Winds: E 3-8. High: 82

SUNDAY NIGHT: Clear and pleasant.  Low: 63

MONDAY: Sunny with a touch of humidity. Winds: SE 8-13. High: 83

TUESDAY: Sticky sun, isolated T-storm. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 68. High: 87

WEDNESDAY: Muggy again, late-day storm risk. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 73. High: 89

THURSDAY: Better chance of T-storms, some heavy. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 74. High: 86

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, turning less humid. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 71. High: 83

SATURDAY: AM sunshine, pop-up PM storms. Cooler. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 67. High: 79

Climate Stories...

In Olympics Opening Ceremony, Brazil Goes Big on Climate Change. The Washington Post reports: "Amid the pomp and circumstance of the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on Friday, in between the fireworks and musical acts, the costumed performers and the camera shots of Gisele Bundchen dancing giddily alongside her fellow Brazilians in the crowd, came a more somber message. In primetime, with the world watching, Brazil showed a video focused on the problem of global warming and climate change. The video, narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Judi Dench, included maps and graphics showing how rapidly the earth’s temperature has spiked over time, how drastically the Antarctic ice sheet has wilted in recent decades and how steadily seas are rising around the globe..."

Global Warming Threatens to Release Nuclear Waste from Cold War Base in Greenland. A story at the U.K. Telegraph had me doing a double-take: "Nuclear waste buried underneath the ice in Greenland in a Cold War-era bunker is at risk of being exposed, scientists fear, due to global warming. Radioactive coolant, thousands of gallons of sewage and diesel fuel, and tons of PCBs – a chemical coolant, banned in 1979 - were abandoned at the US Camp Century base when it was decommissioned in 1967. The Americans left the base nearly fully intact, under the assumption that it would be buried forever under accumulated snowfall..."

* The paper from AGU Publications is here.

Global Sea Level Hits New Record High. Here's an excerpt from NOAA's "...The graph (above) shows yearly global sea level since 1993 compared to the 1993–1999 average line (gray line at zero). Sea level has risen at an average rate of 0.33 centimeters (0.1 inches) per year since the satellite altimeter record began in 1993, which is faster than the rate of rise in the early part of the twentieth century. Some ocean regions are rising faster than others. Regions with high rates of sea level rise in recent years include the western Pacific and Indian Oceans, while some areas of the eastern Pacific, Southern, and North Atlantic Oceans have experienced no change or falling sea level..."

"I Cried... Right Into My Mask": Scientists Say Guam's Reefs Have Bleached Four Years Straight. The Washington Post reports; here's a clip: "...And there’s been no sign of a break this summer. After a recent dive in Guam’s Tumon Bay, Raymundo took to Facebook to describe her shock at the devastation. “I consider myself to be fairly objective and logical about science,” she wrote. “But sometimes that approach fails me. Today, for the first time in the 50 years I’ve been in the water, I cried for an hour, right into my mask, as I witnessed the extent to which our lovely Tumon Bay corals were bleaching and dying.” While not all of the shallow reefs around Guam have been so severely affected, the damage to the Tumon Bay corals is particularly worrying because that area is so important for tourism, Raymundo said..."

Photo credit: "Healthy coral and bleached coral at Guam’s West Agana site in 2014." (Photo by Laurie Raymundo)

Unitarian Universalists Sue For Right To Use Solar Panels, Cite Religious Freedom. ThinkProgress has the story: "A Unitarian Universalist church is suing the town of Bedford, Massachusetts for denying a request to install solar panels on its property, arguing that authorities are infringing on the congregation’s right to express their religious belief in clean energy solutions. According to RLUIPA Defense, the First [Unitarian Universalist] Parish in Bedford applied for a “certificate of appropriateness” to install solar panels on its Meetinghouse earlier this year, only to be denied by the town’s Historic District Commission. In response, the congregation filed a complaint on June 27 based on an unusual argument: that the denial violated their congregation’s free exercise of religion, specifically the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as Article II of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights..."

Photo credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans. "Solar panels are seen on the roof of St. Mark Lutheran Church, in Trenton, NJ in 2007".

U.S. Signed Pact To Keep Exxon Climate Probe Confidential. Reuters has more details: "A pact that 15 U.S. states signed to jointly investigate Exxon Mobil Corp for allegedly misleading the public about climate change sought to keep prosecutors' deliberations confidential and was broadly written so they could probe other fossil fuel companies. The "Climate Change Coalition Common Interest Agreement" was signed by state attorneys general in May, two months after they held a press conference to say they would go after Exxon, the world's largest publicly-traded oil and gas company, and possibly other companies. The signed agreement has not been made public until now, and Reuters reviewed a copy of it on Thursday..."

Photo credit: "A view of the Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown, Texas - September 15, 2008." Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi.

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