Saturday, August 13, 2016

Few Complaints Today - Historic Flooding Grips Louisiana - 8th 500-Year Flood Since May '15

81 F. high temperature yesterday at KMSP
81 F. average high on August 13.
85 F. high in the Twin Cities on August 13, 2015.

4.1" rain so far in August.
1.9" average rainfall as of August 13.
.79" rainfall during the first 13 days of August, 2015.

August 14, 1978: The Boundary Waters area is hit by a strong tornado. Some of the damage could still be seen 10 years later.

Amazing Sunday - A 500-Year Flood for Louisiana

"The red-winged blackbirds in my yard usually fly south in early August" Pete explained at Breezy Point. "This year they left in July. What does it mean?" I shrugged and shook my head. "Too wet?"

Over 4 inches of rain has soaked the metro so far in August; some Minnesota towns have already picked up 2 month's worth of rain this month.

"Phenology" is the study of seasonal changes in animal and plant behavior. But animals and plants react to previous weather patterns - rather than predicting what's to come.
My winter outlook: "changeable". Take it to the bank.

While we savor an amazing Sunday with more sun, lighter winds and a lack of afternoon instability showers, residents of Louisiana are under a State of Emergency; another stalled storm unloading 2 FOOT rainfall amounts and historic flooding. By my count it's the 8th 500-year flood to strike the USA since May of 2015. Probably nothing to worry about.

More T-storms ignite Monday night and Tuesday with highs climbing through the 80s this week. Not as beastly-hot (or wet) as last week, though.

A hefty cool front may be jacket-worthy up north next weekend but summer warmth spills into September.

Less Wind Today. All models keep sustained winds under 10 mph today as the atmosphere continues to stabilize. It should be a nice day on your favorite lake. Model ensemble: NOAA and AerisWeather.

Drier Sunday. 4km NAM guidance pops a few more instability showers north and east of the Twin Cities this afternoon and evening, although not as widespread or heavy as they were late Saturday. Future Radar: NOAA and AerisWeather.

Warming Trend, Followed by a Noticeable Weekend Cool-Down. Temperatures trend above average this week before a thundery frontal passage Friday and a cooler breeze next weekend. 60s for highs up north Saturday and Sunday? I could see it. ECMWF guidance: WeatherBell.

Aeris Weather Briefing: Issued Saturday, August 13th, 2016
  • A State of Emergency for the state of Louisiana has been declared due to ongoing historic flooding.
  • Numerous areas across parts of southeast Louisiana and southern Mississippi have seen over 10” of rain since Thursday.
  • Parts of southern Louisiana and into west Texas could see an additional 4-7”+ of rain throughout the day today, including Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Alexandria and Lake Charles (LA) as well as Beaumont (TX).

State of Emergency. This is just one of numerous scenes across portions of southeastern Louisiana over the past 24-36 hours, with historic flooding occurring across the region. There has been several Flash Flood Emergencies issued across the region during this time period, indicative of widespread flash flooding that will cause significant/catastrophic impacts to property and life. A Flash Flood Emergency from the National Weather Service that was issued at 8:48 AM Saturday morning for parts of East Baton Rouge Parish and Livingston Parish said that emergency management was requesting immediate evacuations in Watson, LA. Due to the ongoing catastrophic flooding, the governor of Louisiana declared a State of Emergency for the state Friday.

The Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate has put together an interactive map of areas hit the hardest in the region by flooding:

Numerous Road Closures. The Louisiana Department of Transportation is reporting numerous roads from Lafayette to Baton Rouge to Kentwood closed due to flooding. This includes parts of I-10 in the Baton Rouge area and I-55 from the Independence to Amite City exits. For more information on what roads are closed:

Selected Heavy Rain Totals. The Weather Prediction Center has put together a select list of heavy rainfall totals so far across portions of the Gulf Coast region. Parts of Louisiana and Mississippi have received 10”+ of rain so far in this event. The heaviest total listed comes out of Livingston, LA which has received over 21” of rain through 3 am this morning.

Additional Rain Today. Additional rain of 4-7”+ is likely today across parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, compounding the flooding situation within the region.

Flooding Concerns Today. The Weather Prediction Center has once again outlined a “High” risk of excessive rain leading to flooding across parts of southern Louisiana today with the potential of another 4-7”+ of rain across the region.

Historic River Flooding. Numerous rivers across parts of southeast Louisiana are either already experiencing or expected to experience potentially historic flooding. This is the hydrograph for the Amite River at Denham Springs, east of Baton Rouge. The river is currently expected to crest at almost five feet above its current record of 41.5’ set in 1983.

Forecast River Flooding. The Amite River at Denham Springs is just one of many river gauges that are expected to see major flooding over the next few days across southeast Louisiana. Meanwhile, rivers in the Lafayette area are expected to reach Moderate flood stage over the next few days.

Summary. Major flash flooding continues across parts of the lower Mississippi Valley today, with another 4-7”+ of rain expected. That’s on top of 10-15”+ in some of these areas. Numerous roads have been reported underwater, including parts of I-10 and I-55. Facilities across these areas that normally experience problems during flood scenarios should continue to be on alert for issues over the next few days.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, AerisWeather

WunderBlog. Bob Henson has more perspective and context here.

America's Latest 500-Year Rainstorm is Underway Right Now in Louisiana. Meteorologist Eric Holthaus provides perspective at Pacific Standard; here's an excerpt: "...An instant analysis from Climate Nexus refers to today’s Louisiana rainstorm as a “classic signal of climate change.” It’s right. The NWS maintains a statistical database used to calculate the “annual exceedance probability” of a given rainfall event — basically, the expected frequency this event would occur in any given year. Today’s rainstorm in Louisiana is at least the eighth 500-year rainfall event across America in little more than a year, including similarly extreme downpours in Oklahoma last May, central Texas (twice: last May and last October), South Carolina last October, northern Louisiana this March, West Virginia in June, and Maryland last month..."

The Times Picayune in New Orleans has live-blogging on the ongoing flooding disaster across Louisiana and Mississippi at

Gulf Storm of August 2016. Not a named tropical storm or hurricane, but the stalled tropical disturbance over the Gulf of Mexico has wreaked havoc, especially across Louisiana and Mississippi. Here's some perspective from Climate Signals: "A slow-moving storm system, fed by unusually warm seas in the Gulf of Mexico, began on August 7 to unleash heavy rains in the Southeastern United States. The storm may trigger flash flooding in spots, and parts of the Gulf Coast could see up to 20 inches of rainfall through August 14. On August 11, a measure of atmospheric moisture, precipitable water, was in historic territory at 2.78 inches, a measurement higher than during some past hurricanes in the region. Increased moisture in the air and unusually heavy rainfall are classic signals of climate change. As the world warms, storms are able to feed on warmer ocean waters, and the air is able to hold and dump more water. These trends have led to a pronounced increase in intense rainfall events and an increase in flooding risk. In the Southeastern US, extreme precipitation has increased 27 percent from 1958 to 2012." (Visible loop: WeatherTap).

NOAA Maintains La Nina Forecast for Fall or Winter. The observed cooling of Pacific ocean water has been tame, the forecast of official La Nina conditions pushed back, according to Reuters: "A U.S. government weather forecaster on Thursday reduced its outlook that La Nina conditions would develop in next few months but said it still expected the weather phenomenon to occur this fall or winter. The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center said in its monthly forecast that La Nina was "slightly favored" to develop through October. That was a small change from July, when it stated the conditions were "favored" to occur. The agency maintained its forecast of a 55 percent to 60 percent chance that La Nina would develop during the fall and winter of 2016/17..."

* More details from NOAA CPC here.

Surveyed Scientists Debunk Chemtrails Conspiracy Theory. Here's the intro to a story at UCI News: "The world’s leading atmospheric scientists overwhelmingly deny the existence of a secret, elite-driven plot to release harmful chemicals into the air from high-flying aircraft, according to the first peer-reviewed journal paper to address the “chemtrails” conspiracy theory. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the nonprofit Near Zero organization asked 77 atmospheric chemists and geochemists if they had come across evidence of such a large-scale spraying program, and 76 responded that they had not. The survey results were published Wednesday in Environmental Research Letters. Heat from aircraft engines produces condensation trails that can be clearly seen from the ground. A small but vocal segment of the population firmly believes that these are composed not merely of condensed water vapor but of chemicals and elements such as strontium, barium and aluminum that powerful, high-level entities have been intentionally and covertly releasing into the atmosphere for decades..."

Photo credit: "A commercial airliner produces a condensation trail in the skies over California." Mick West

The Brave New World of Robots and Lost Jobs. Here's the debate we should be having. Be less worried about bad trade deals with China - and more worried about AI and intelligent robots doing your job within 5-10 years.  The Washington Post reports: "...The “automation bomb” could destroy 45 percent of the work activities currently performed in the United States, representing about $2 trillion in annual wages, according to a study last year by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. We’ve seen only the beginning of this change, they warned. Currently, only 5 percent of occupations can be entirely automated, but 60 percent of occupations could soon see machines doing 30 percent or more of the work. The McKinsey analysts sharpened their argument in a paper released last month. Their estimates, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data covering more than 800 occupations, draw a shocking picture of the future...."

Photo credit: "A robot paints brake drums at Webb Wheel Products in Cullman, Ala." (Dave Martin/Associated Press).

9 Pieces of Obsolete Tech That Just Won't Die. Here's a clip from Popular Mechanics: "Have you had to write a rent check lately? Or maybe fax some important documents? Despite things like Venmo and email that normal people use every day, these ancient bits of tech and culture just keep hanging on. There's clearly better technology, it's just that not everyone is using it. Here are nine outmoded technologies that just won't disappear..."

Image credit: Flickr CC BY 2.0/Blude.

TODAY: Sunny, nearly perfect. Isolated late PM shower north/east of MSP. Winds: W 5-10. High: 82

SUNDAY NIGHT: Clear and mild. Low: 65

MONDAY: Warm sun, T-storms at night. Winds: S 8-13. High: 85

TUESDAY: Unsettled, few leftover T-storms. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 67. High: 84

WEDNESDAY: Sunnier, odds favor a dry sky. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 66. High: 86

THURSDAY: Sticky sunshine, T-storms late? Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 69. High: 88

FRIDAY: Showers and T-storms, some heavy. Winds: S/SW 10-15. Wake-up: 70. High: 83

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, cool hints of September. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 64. High: 75

Climate Stories...

A Court Ruling That Could Save the Planet. Bloomberg View has the story: "A federal court this week upheld the approach that the government uses to calculate the social cost of carbon when it issues regulations -- and not just the cost imposed on Americans, but on people worldwide. It’s technical stuff, but also one of the most important climate change rulings ever. The social cost of carbon is meant to capture the economic damage of a ton of carbon emissions. The assumptions that go into the analysis, and the resulting number, matter a lot, because they play a key role in the cost-benefit analysis for countless regulations -- not only the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, but also fuel economy rules for automobiles and trucks and energy efficiency rules for appliances, including refrigerators, microwave ovens, clothes washers, small motors, and clothes driers..." (Image credit: NASA).

Guest Post: Piecing Together the Arctic's Sea Ice History Back to 1850. Here's an excerpt of an interesting post at Carbon Brief: "...Most fundamentally of all, the new dataset allows us to answer the three questions we posed at the beginning of this article. First, there is no point in the past 150 years where sea ice extent is as small as it has been in recent years. Second, the rate of sea ice retreat in recent years is also unprecedented in the historical record. And, third, the natural fluctuations in sea ice over multiple decades are generally smaller than the year-to-year variability..."

Image credit: "Sea ice cover maps for the annual minimum in September, for the periods 1850-1900, 1901-1950, 1951-2000, and 2001-2013. The maps show the sea ice extent in the lowest minimum during each period, which are in years: 1879, 1943, 1995, and 2012."

Growing Corn Like It's 2065 To Study Climate Change Effects. The Star Tribune reports: "At the University of Minnesota, researchers are growing corn in greenhouses like it’s the year 2065. The effort is part of a long-term plan to study how corn will grow under weather conditions considerably different from today’s, predicted in climate change models for a half-century out. “Many models show that with increasing temperatures we could be seeing a reduction in corn yields, so that’s something we would like to investigate under controlled conditions,” said Tim Griffis, University of Minnesota professor of biometeorology and one of several researchers directing projects..."

Photo credit: "Richard TSONG-TAATARII, Star Tribune. "John Baker of the Agricultural Research Service is studying how climate change may affect crop yields."

As Earth Swelters, Global Warming Target In Danger of Being Missed. Here's the intro to an update at Reuters: "The Earth is so hot this year that a limit for global warming agreed by world leaders at a climate summit in Paris just a few months ago is in danger of being breached. In December, almost 200 nations agreed a radical shift away from fossil fuels with a goal of limiting a rise in average global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times while "pursuing efforts" for 1.5C (2.7F). But 2016 is on track to be the hottest year on record, also buoyed by a natural El Nino event warming the Pacific, according to the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization. The first six months were a sweltering 1.3C above pre-industrial times..." (File photo: AP).

Epic Middle Eastern Heatwave Could Be Global Warming's Hellish Curtain Raiser. Not the headline I would have written, but there's little doubt that things are heating up in an already-volatile region of the planet. Access to clean, reliable water may be a bigger factor that actual air temperatures and record highs. Here's an excerpt from Sydney Morning Herald: "Record-shattering temperatures this summer have scorched countries from Morocco to Saudi Arabia and beyond, as climate experts warn that the severe weather could be a harbinger of worse to come. UN officials and climate scientists predict that, in coming decades, the region's mushrooming populations will face extreme water scarcity, temperatures almost too hot for human survival and other consequences of global warming..."

Photo credit: "Iraqis jump off the ruins of an old building into the Tigris River to beat the heat in Baghdad this month. The temperature in Baghdad reached 47 degrees." Photo: AP.

In Picture: Russian Weather Station on the Edge of Melting Permafrost. Climate Home has the story: "The tiny island of Vize in the Kara Sea is fast disappearing as a warming atmosphere melts Arctic sea ice and the Russian permafrost. That’s the warning from WWF Russia, which has released pictures of what it says is a government weather station about to topple into the sea. Since 2009 over 70 metres of coastline has been eroded, said glaciologist Alexander Aleynikov, a development he describes as “very impressive”..."

Photo credit: "Vize island weather station on the edge." (Pic: WWF Russia).

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