Sunday, October 9, 2016

A Relatively Dry Week for Harvest - Hurricane Matthew Recap

TODAY: Mild wind, late shower? Winds: S 15-25. High: near 70

MONDAY NIGHT: Patchy clouds,  passing shower (best chance south/east of MSP). Low: 54

TUESDAY: Clouds increase, few showers. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 66

WEDNESDAY: Steadier rain tapers, turning cooler. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 45. High: 53

THURSDAY: Frosty start, cool-blue sky. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 35. High: 57

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, milder breeze. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 43. High: 62

SATURDAY: Early sun, few showers possible late. Winds: S 10-20.  Wake-up: 53. High: 69

SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, cooler. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up:  58. High: 63

Delayed Harvests - Recovering from a Wet September

Statewide it was the 10th wettest September since 1895, according to the Minnesota Climate Office. But that's an average; some towns in southern Minnesota picked up 4-5 times more rain than average.
I'm hearing from frustrated farmers, including Kevin Busch down in Worthington. "We have water standing everywhere. It seems like we will have absolutely no chance of harvesting until the ground freezes or we get a 1-2 week period of NO rain. Is this even possible?" Busch asked. Gazing at the maps I'm not so sure.

2016 will almost certainly be one of the 3 wettest years on record across Minnesota. This milder, wetter bias should spill into the winter months - but a broader warming trend could favor a mix of snow, ice and even rain in the months to come.

That said, winter hasn't been cancelled. If we ever skip winter the planet will have much bigger problems.

A few quick shots of colder air are brewing, but I don't see prolonged spells of numbing weather. The chance of showers increases tonight into Wednesday. After a frosty Thursday morning temperatures mellow to near 70F by late week.

Wearing a jacket over your shorts? Welcome to October.

Matthew's Impacts Still Being Felt, But It Could Have Been Worse. Here's an excerpt of an interesting analysis from Planalytics: "...As of Sunday morning (October 9), over 3,500 flight cancellations and 2.2 million power outages have been attributed to the storm, along with over 15 fatalities in the U.S. alone. Flooding, storm surge, high winds, downed trees, and power outages occurred throughout the weekend. The impacts of Matthew will be felt for days, weeks, and even months in some locations. Post-storm purchasing in impacted areas will spike for pumps, chainsaws, tarps, as well as hardware and materials to repair property damage. Traffic into restaurants and businesses along evacuation routes will also see increases as people who vacated their homes return. While the specific economic costs will not be known for some time, original estimates of Matthew’s impact have been reported at $4 to $6 billion. Matthew will likely be the costliest storm since Sandy in 2012 (which had an estimated $68 billion in damages). While Matthew will be a costly storm, the total economic impacts are not projected to be as severe as what was possible only a few days ago..."

Chance of Showers Increase Late Tuesday into Wednesday. NOAA 4km NAM model data suggests a dry Monday, but rain showers increase in coverage late Tuesday into Wednesday as a cooler front approaches. Source: AerisWeather.

7-Day Precipitation. Heavy rain and snow is likely for the far west as the jet stream carves out a deep trough of low pressure with a parade of big storms. Models hint at 5-12" of precipitation for the higher terrain from northern California to Vancouver by Monday of next week. Source: WeatherBell.

November Temperature Anomaly. Here is NOAA's CFSv2 (Climate Forecast System) prediction for temperature anomalies next month; suggesting cooler than average for much of the USA but warmer than normal for the northern tier states and most of Canada. Source: WeatherBell.

December Temperature Anomaly. Models suggest a potential shift by December with a mild bias forecast for much of the USA, but a colder trend from the Pacific Northwest into western Canada.

Minnesota's Spectacular Early Autumn Micro-Season. Put your vacation request for 2017 in now. Ask for September 27 to October 3, give or take. Odds are you won't be disappointed with the weather, as reported in a fascinating post at the Minnesota DNR: "...The five days ending on October 3rd were virtually cloud-free in many parts of the state, and the Twin Cities had fewer clouds than any other 5-day period this year. In fact, to find a comparably cloudless period, you would have to go back to October 2015! The fact that it was nearly the same time of year is no coincidence: clear skies and traditionally pleasant weather are more common during this period than any other time of year in the Upper Midwest. The late Dr. Don Baker and his colleagues first discovered this “micro-season” of agreeable weather during the early 1980s. They observed that from the Canadian border down into Missouri, clear days (those with no cloud cover between sunrise and sunset) were by far most common from the last week in September through much of October, with a sharp spike centered on the period between September 27th and October 3rd..."

America's Super Polluters. The Center for Public Integrity has a must-read article: "...The Center, which merged two federal datasets to create an unprecedented picture of air emissions, found that a third of the toxic air releases in 2014 from power plants, factories and other facilities came from just 100 complexes out of more than 20,000 reporting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A third of the greenhouse-gas emissions reported by industrial sites came from just 100, too. Some academics have a name for them: super polluters. Twenty-two sites appeared on both lists. They include ExxonMobil’s massive refinery and petrochemical complex in Baytown, Texas, and a slew of coal-fired power plants, from FirstEnergy’s Harrison in West Virginia to Conemaugh in Pennsylvania, owned by companies including NRG Energy and PSEG. Four are in a single region — southwest Indiana..."

Range Is All The Rage in Paris, as Electic Cars Steal the Show. The New York Times reports: "For perhaps the first time at a major international auto salon, the stars of the Paris Motor Show are electric cars. The 2016 show, open to the public through Oct. 16, also has the usual sampling of futuristic designs and prototypes. And of course there are some conventional new models soon to hit dealer showrooms. But this show may end up being best remembered as a tipping point for an electric car revolution poised to challenge the automobile industry’s internal-combustion status quo — although some of the excitement is still speculative, of course..."

Photo credit: "The Paris Motor Show runs through Oct. 16." Credit Michel Euler/Associated Press.

24th Annual Kuehnast Lecture at University of Minnesota on Wednesday. I'm looking forward to introducing one of my heroes, Rep. Bob Inglis from South Carolina, who is leading the effort to find a conservative solution to climate change. Here's an excerpt from Dr. Mark Seeley at WeatherTalk: "...The 24th Annual Kuehnast Endowment Lecture will take place on Wednesday, October 12th at 2pm in the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus Student Center Theater. Our topic this year is “Climate Change and the American Free Enterprise System.” Our speakers are Paul Douglas, former Twin Cities broadcast meteorologist and President of Aeris Weather; and Bob Inglis, former South Carolina Republican Congressman and founder of, which is centered on conservative principles and a free-enterprise solution to climate change. This program is free and open to the public."

* More details on the Kuehnast Lecture Series and how you can participate here.

Climate Stories....

New Study Says We Must Do More Than Cap Global Warming Temperatures. Here are a couple of excerpts from a story at "...But one study claims it’s simply not enough. A discussion paper by scientist James Hansen says we must do more than stop the 2ºC rise — we must also start sucking CO2 out of the air, The paper says 2016 temperatures are likely to be 1.25ºC above pre-industrial times and have already reached points similar to when Earth’s seas were 20 to 30 feet higher. That’s the Eemian period, more than 100,000 years ago...All this has spurred Hansen, his granddaughter, and other young people to sue the U.S. federal government. The suit claims federal inaction violates the constitutional rights of the youth and will leave the burden to the next generation..."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.

A Military View on Climate Change: It's Eroding Our National Security and We Should Prepare for It. A friend of mine, fellow Penn Stater Admiral David Titley (retired) has the story for The Center for Climate and Security; here's the intro: "In this presidential election year we have heard much about some issues, such as immigration and trade, and less about others. For example, climate change was discussed for an estimated 82 seconds in the first presidential debate last week, and for just 37 minutes in all presidential and vice presidential debates since the year 2000. Many observers think climate change deserves more attention. They might be surprised to learn that U.S. military leaders and defense planners agree. The armed forces have been studying climate change for years from a perspective that rarely is mentioned in the news: as a national security threat. And they agree that it poses serious risks..."

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