Monday, October 10, 2016

Historic Flooding Grips North Carolina - Evangelicals "Caring for Creation"

74 F. high in the Twin Cities Monday.
61 F. average high on October 10.
74 F. high temperature at KMSP on October 10, 2015.

October 11, 1909: A snowstorm hits the state, along with temperatures dropping to 7 degrees over northern MN.

This Year, When In Doubt, Just Predict Rain

"It is curious - curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare" said Mark Twain. Tomorrow, at the University of Minnesota I have the honor of introducing one of my personal heroes, Rep. Bob Inglis. A member of the GOP, Inglis was voted out of South Carolina's 4th Congressional district for acknowledging the obvious: the climate is changing - and this time around it's probably not a "natural cycle". He's speaking on how free enterprise can solve climate change as part of the Kuehnast Lecture Series at the Department of Soil, Water and Climate. Details here.

After a stunning Columbus Day reality creeps back in today as clouds stream in; a few light showers tonight and Wednesday morning. That said, this will be one of the drier weeks in what has been a very wet year.

A light frost can't be ruled out Thursday morning before the next sloppy front drags more ill-timed showers into Minnesota Saturday. Sunday looks like the nicer day of the weekend to rake leaves or walk around the lake. Rain returns Monday & Tuesday, but nothing severe.

2016 brought 637 severe storm reports in Minnesota, the most since 2010. Details below.

Frosty Possibilities Thursday Morning. The downtowns and close-in suburbs may escape frost-free Thursday, but most suburbs will probably set wake-up temperatures below 32F Thursday. Live in Maple Grove? Kiss your begonias goodbye. Model data: AerisWeather.

Showers Increase Next 24 Hours. The bulk of the showers may remain just north of MSP much of today; the chance of a few hours of rain increasing tonight into Wednesday morning as a cooler front pushes east. 4km NAM Future Radar: NOAA and AerisWeather.

Wetter Pattern Returns Next Week? I sure hope not (farmers trying to get out into their fields are not amused) but a few models pull more southern moisture into Minnesota by mid-month, with predicted rainfall amounts close to 3".

Minnesota Sees Most Active Severe Weather Season Since 2010. Cody Matz reports for KMSP-TV: "The 2016 severe weather season in Minnesota was about on par for the 20 year average across the state which included several hundred high wind reports, about a couple hundred large hail reports, and a few dozen tornadoes. But considering it was the most active severe weather season in 6 years means it has been pretty quiet around here for a while. The reports statewide were up 230 from last year totaling 637 across the state. 44 tornadoes were also reported which is slightly above average for overall tornadoes in the northern most tornado alley state, BUT is the most tornadoes we have seen since the record breaking season of 2010 where 145 tornadoes touched down, leading the nation that year, the first time in history..."

Mean Date of First Frost. Here is the average date of the first 32-degree low temperature across the USA.

Fleeing the Coast Before the Storm, Only To Be Trapped Inland. Which raises the inevitable question: where DO you put all those people fleeing the coastal storm surge? Inland flooding may be just as big a threat, as Matthew reminded meteorologists and emergency managers. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...Some higher power may know exactly where hurricanes are going, but even with modern technology, humans have to guess. As countless residents and public officials learned in the last few days, this makes the question of evacuations — whether or when to flee, who is in danger and who is safe — an extraordinarily complicated call, and one particularly vulnerable to second-guessing...Everybody’s a meteorologist,” said Mr. Hodges, the former governor. “That’s part of the problem: They have access to much of the same information and will be trying to make their own decisions rather than waiting for some sort of specific evacuation order..."

Twitter photo credit: Lorie Moore.

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..."

Hurricane Matthew: Trail of Devastation; 28 Dead Across 5 Southern States. Here's an update via ABC News.

Storm Damage Imagery from Hurricane Matthew. I haven't seen this before - aerial images in the wake of a hurricane to gauge the extent of wind and storm surge damage along the coast. Web link courtesy of NOAA.

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.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Extends Its Toxic Reach. Here's an excerpt of a harrowing story at Newsweek: "...Many other Gulf residents are stricken with some of the same odd symptoms—and more. They include migraines, skin rashes, bloody diarrhea, bouts of pneumonia, nausea, seizures, muscle cramps, profound depression and anxiety, severe mental fuzziness and even blackouts. The oil spill, the worst in maritime history, dumped 4.2 million barrels of oil, and officials released 1.8 million gallons of Corexit, a chemical dispersant used to break up the oil, into the Gulf before the well was sealed. Six years later, controversy still rages about the wisdom of carpet-bombing the Gulf with these chemicals, and newly released documents reveal that government scientists expressed concern at the time about the health consequences of mixing such large quantities of dispersants with the millions of barrels of sweet crude. Occupational health experts now believe it created a toxic mix that sickened thousands of locals—including some of the 47,000 people that worked in some capacity on BP’s cleanup operation—crippling them with chemically induced illnesses that doctors are unable to treat..."

Photo credit: "Smoke billows from a controlled burn of spilled oil off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico coast line on June 13, 2010. Millions of gallons of oil poured into the Gulf following the April 20, 2010 explosion on an offshore rig killed 11 workers and ruptured BP's deep-sea well." Sean Gardner/Reuters

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..."

EV Sales Set Quarterly Record in America. Gas 2 has the encouraging details: "More than 45,000 cars with plugs were sold in America in the three month period that ended September 30. Led by the Tesla Model S and Chevy Volt, EV sales in the third quarter were up 60% over the same period in 2015. Almost 17,000 battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars were sold in September, which helped give a boost to the quarterly numbers..."

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.

Frac Sand: Winona County Board Poised to Vote After Years of Conflict. The Lacrosse Tribune reports: "...The planning commission proposal does not call for a ban on industrial sand production in the county. Instead, it limits the number of industrial sand mines allowed to operate in the county to six at any one time and limits the extent of each mine to 40 acres or less. The proposed ordinance would subject industrial sand mines to additional environmental and operational regulations..."

Photo credit: Lee Newspapers file photo. "The Winona County Board will hold a public hearing Thursday on proposed regulations of frac mining in the county, including the possibility of an outright ban."

Civil War Cannonballs Found on South Carolina Beach in Matthew's Wake. The storm surge from Matthew brought a few civil war relics to the surface; here's an excerpt from Fox News: "A bomb squad was at a South Carolina beach on Sunday after Hurricane Matthew apparently unearthed old Civil War cannonballs from the sand. Charleston County Sheriff's spokesman Maj. Eric Watson said in a news release that the cannon balls were found on Folly Beach Sunday afternoon, but bomb squad members couldn't get to it immediately because of the rising tide. Once the ocean level goes down, Watson said technicians would render the cannonballs safe. He warned residents might hear a small boom..."

Photo credit: "Civil War-era cannonballs were discovered on a South Carolina shore on Sunday." (AP)

The Definitive Map of America's Creepy Clown Epidemic. Where else but Atlas Obscura? "...And with that, clown hysteria began. Next came clown sightings in nearby North Carolina. And, then, sightings—and, increasingly, social media threats—up and down the Eastern Seaboard. By mid-September, the sightings and threats had moved west, to Middle America. And by late September and early October, they'd reached the West Coast. Few of the threats have amounted to much more than a scare, and even fewer have produced actual clowns. But in at least a handful of cases, living, breathing clowns have turned up..."

Map credit: "The interactive map above tracks over 100 clown sightings and threats across America, beginning in early August. This map will be updated as more clown activity happens."

TODAY: Clouds increase, late shower. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 68

TUESDAY NIGHT: Light showers likely. Low: 46

WEDNESDAY: AM showers, then partial clearing and cooler. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 52

THURSDAY: Frosty start? Brilliant sunshine. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 35. High: 57

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, milder breeze arrives. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 42. High: 64

SATURDAY: Chance of rain increases, fairly soggy. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 51. High: 62

SUNDAY: Brighter, drier day of the weekend. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 47. High: 66

MONDAY: Ugh. More rain - rumble of thunder? Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 56. High: 67

Climate Stories....

"Caring for Creation" Makes The Christian Case for Climate Action. Here's an excerpt of a review at The Guardian: "...Recently a book has been published by a faith-science duo. That duo is Paul Douglas, respected meteorologist, entrepreneur, Republican, and Christian, and his writing partner Mitch Hescox who leads the Evangelical Environmental Network (the largest evangelical group devoted to creation care). Their book, entitled Caring for Creation, provides a masterful balance of science, faith, and personal journey. The style of the book is one I have not seen before. It is a side-by-side presentation of first science, then faith, then science, and back to faith. Interspersed within the main text are enlightening anecdotes mainly from weather forecasters across the country which show an informed lived experience of experts watching the climate change before their very eyes. Importantly the authors provide a list of concrete things that we all can do, starting right now to make a meaningful impact in reducing global warming..."

Climate Change Blamed for Half of Increased Forest Fire Danger. The New York Times reports: "Forest fires are burning longer and stronger across the western United States, lighting up the landscape with alarming frequency. Residents are forced to flee, homes are incinerated, wildlife habitats are destroyed, lives are lost. Last year, the Forest Service spent more than half its annual budget fighting fires. Scientists have long theorized that climate change has contributed to the longer fire seasons, the growing number and destructiveness of fires and the increasing area of land consumed, though some experts suggest that the current fire phenomenon is not just a result of a changing climate, but also fire suppressing policies practiced by the government for the last century or more..."

Photo credit: "The Loma Fire rages on the Santa Cruz Mountains summit beyond the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster in Santa Cruz." Credit Shmuel Thaler/The Santa Cruz Sentinel, via Associated Press.

Clinton, Trump Supporters Worlds Apart on Views of Climate Change and its Scientists. Here's a clip from an analysis at Pew Research Center: "...Further, Clinton and Trump supporters have vastly different beliefs about the causes of climate change. A large majority of Clinton supporters (70%) say the Earth is warming mostly because of human activity, but just 22% of Trump supporters share that view. Nearly half of Trump supporters (47%) say the Earth is warming because of natural patterns, and three-in-ten (30%) say there is no solid evidence the Earth is warming..."

Katharine Hayhoe, a Climate Explainer Who Stays Above the Storm. Here's an excerpt from The New York Times: "...Katharine Hayhoe is a national treasure,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. He said that she combined powerful communications skills, world-class scientific credentials and an ability to relate to conservative religious communities that can be skeptical about the risks of a changing climate. Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climate scientist, said in an email that Dr. Hayhoe’s faith is an important factor, because “people can accept unwelcome truths much more readily if they come from within, rather than from outside, their community/family/group...”

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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