70 F. average high on May 17.
65 F. high on May 17, 2016.
May 18, 1980: Mt. St. Helens erupts. The smoke plume eventually rises to 80,000 feet, circling the earth in 19 days. Brilliant sunsets due to the smoke are seen over Minnesota for days afterward.
May 18, 1933: Tornadoes hit McLeod and Mower counties.
Tornado Shelters, Heat Bursts and Muddy Showers
In light of the deadly Chetek, Wisconsin tornado I reviewed Minnesota's regulations. Manufactured home parks with 10 or more homes, licensed after March 1, 1988, must provide a storm shelter within the park. But parks licensed prior to March 1, 1988, must provide either a shelter on the premises -or- evacuation plans to a storm shelter close to the park.
"Storm shelters are expensive!" So are brakes, but car manufacturers still include them with every purchase.
When tornadoes hit these manufactured home parks damage is extensive. 44 percent of the 1,091 Americans killed by tornadoes from 1985 to 2005 died in mobile homes. Details here.
Tuesday's rain was muddy, possibly the result of a "heat burst" in southwestern Minnesota lofting freshly-tilled topsoil into the air, then coming down during heavy showers. Bizarre.
We dry out later today, but more showers arrive Friday; heavier rain Saturday. Another 1-2 inches of rain may fall before skies try to brighten up on Sunday.
Refreshing (?) 50s give way to 60s and 70s next week. Keep an eye out for muddy showers. Never a dull moment, huh?
Despite Tornado Threat, Shelters Rare for Mobile Home Parks. Here's an excerpt of a story at News OK published back in January which seems even more timely today: "...According to the National Weather Service, 44 percent of the 1,091 Americans killed by tornadoes from 1985 to 2005 died in mobile homes, compared to 25 percent in stick-built homes. That's especially significant considering how few Americans — 8 percent or fewer — lived in mobile homes during that period. Over the weekend, an unusual midwinter outbreak of dozens of tornadoes shredded two mobile home parks that didn't have shelters in southwest Georgia. Three people were killed at Big Pine Estates in Albany and seven died at Sunrise Acres in rural Cook County. For most of the U.S., installing storm shelters remains a voluntary decision whether they're for a private home, a mobile home park or a community center. Alabama and Illinois have laws mandating that new public schools are built with storm shelters, and Minnesota requires shelters at mobile home parks with spaces for 10 or more homes built since 1988..."
More Details on Elk City, Wisconsin Tornado. Here's a clip from a US News update: "...The Red Cross says dozens of people who lost their homes when a tornado leveled a trailer park in northwestern Wisconsin are staying with relatives or friends while others are using donated hotel rooms and a temporary shelter. Red Cross spokesman Luong Huynh (loon ha-when) says 30 to 50 people came through a reception center at Mosaic Telecom in Cameron after the destructive tornado hit nearby Tuesday. Authorities say a 46-year-old man was killed and a couple of dozen people were injured. The severe weather also caused extensive damage to several turkey barns across from the mobile home park. Mayor Jeff Martin in nearby Chetek (sheh-TEK') says turkeys can be seen wandering in the damage..."
Photo credit: "Part of a building sits on a vehicle after a tornado ripped through Prairie Lake Estates trailer home park, just north of Chetek, Wis., Tuesday, May 16, 2017. The tornado swept into the mobile home park in western Wisconsin on Tuesday, as a storm system also pounded parts of at least seven states from Texas to near the Canadian border with heavy rain, high winds and hail." (Dan Reiland/The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram via AP) The Associated Press.
What Causes a Heat Burst? The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls explains the meteorology behind Tuesday morning's storm-driven surge of heat, wind (and dirt): "When a thunderstorm is mature, warm and moist air rises into the storm. As the air rises, water drops (and ice crystals) form within the clouds which then fall out as heavy rain. With heavy rain falling, the air beneath the cloud is cooled due to evaporation. As a result, the air at the surface is typically cooler than the warm and moist air ahead of the thunderstorm. As the thunderstorm weakens, rainfall decreases. In most cases, when there is warm and moist air in the lowest 5000 feet of the atmosphere, the wind will decrease as the storm weakens and rain no longer reaches the surface. However, when there is very dry air below the cloud base, as occurred last night (see below), then evaporation continues below the cloud base. Where rain is evaporating, the colder air, which is denser than the air around it, will continue to accelerate toward the surface. Once the rain completely evaporates, the air will begin to warm more quickly as it approaches the surface. As it reaches the surface, the air is actually warmer and drier than the air ahead the storm."
Praedictix Briefing: Issued Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
- The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Moderate Risk of severe weather for tomorrow (Thursday) across parts of the Southern Plains, including Kansas and Oklahoma. This threat includes the cities of Dodge City and Great Bend (KS) as well as Woodward and Clinton (OK).
- As a system pushes into the Plains, we will be watching the threat of tornadoes (some of which could be strong), very large hail and damaging winds tomorrow afternoon and evening across the region.
Summary. A Moderate Risk of severe weather has been put in place across parts of Oklahoma and Kansas for Thursday, including Dodge City (KS) and Woodward (OK). We will be watching the threat of severe weather during the afternoon and evening hours tomorrow across this area, possibly containing tornadoes (some strong), very large hail and damaging winds.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix
Just Imagine: 1.5 Million in Evacuation Gridlock as a Hurricane Aims at Tampa Bay. The west coast of Florida has been (supernaturally) lucky in recent decades. Pondering a worst-case scenario for the Tampa area gives emergency planners the chills, explains TBO.com: "...Nearly every scenario seems nightmarish: In Pinellas County, a Level D evacuation gives 585,000 people — half the county's population — 36 hours to crawl across the Courtney Campbell Causeway, Howard Frankland and Gandy bridges. In Pasco County, a Level B evacuation means nearly 175,000 people would have 24 hours to flee east along just two roads, State Roads 52 and 54. And if a monster hurricane takes aim at the bay area, the highest evacuation level in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Manatee counties would result in a total of 1.5 million — half the region — ordered to leave their homes over two full days. The Tampa Bay area has a booming population but a busted road network. Emergency management officials wonder how a region that can't handle rush-hour traffic will deal with the realities of a major hurricane evacuation. The bay area hasn't had a direct hurricane strike in nearly a century and hasn't had a major evacuation in more than a decade..."
Photo credit: "Vehicles pack the northbound lanes of the Howard Frankland Bridge heading toward Tampa during the evacuation for powerful Hurricane Charley on Aug. 12, 2004." Times (2004)
Photo credit: WKYT-TV.
Insurance Know-How Can Help Cities Cut Disaster Risk: U.N. Expert. A few statistics in a Reuters story made me do a double-take: "...The number of disasters affecting cities is expected to rise amid climate change and rapid urbanization, particularly in Africa and Asia, which will see the share of the global population living in urban areas rise to two-thirds from just over half at present. Globally, 80 percent of the largest cities are vulnerable to severe earthquakes, and 60 percent are at risk from tsunamis and storm surges, according to U.N. data. Bacani said insurers can help cities cut their risk, for example, by improving land-use planning and building codes, and by rewarding disaster preparedness through their premiums. "Linking risk reduction efforts to premiums and insurance coverage is critical to changing behavior and promoting good risk management in urban areas," he said..."
Photo credit: "Williams College astronomer Jay Pasachoff prepares for a solar eclipse in Argentine Patagonia in February. He plans to observe this summer's total eclipse from western Oregon." (Photo courtesy of Jay Pasachoff).
Photo credit: Inhabitat.com.
Photo credit: Dan Winters.
TODAY: Damp start, skies brighten with a cool wind. Winds: N 10-15. High: 55
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy, cool and dry. Low: 41
FRIDAY: More showers arrive from the south. Winds: E 10-15. High: 54
SATURDAY: Windswept rain, heavy at times. Winds: NE 10-20. Wake-up: 43. High: 52
SUNDAY: Soggy start, PM peeks of sun? Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 42. High: 58
MONDAY: Sunny start, pop-up PM shower. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 44. High: 68
TUESDAY: Partly sunny, a drier breeze. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 43. High: 62
WEDNESDAY: Bright sunshine, milder. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 42. High: 68
Image credit: "A periodical cicada dries out after emerging from its nymph skin in a backyard in Towson this week." (Karen Jackson/Baltimore Sun).
Venice is a floating art city that has inspired cultures for centuries, but to continue to do so it needs the support of our generation and future ones, because it is threatened by climate change and time decay,’Centimeter by centimeter, inexorably, sea-level rise is moving shorelines, devastating habitats, laying waste to existing infrastructure and wreaking havoc on property values. These consequence command special attention for obvious reasons..."
Lorenzo Quinn, sculpter
Trump Country is Flooding, and Climate Ideas Are Shifting. E&ENews has an eye-opening article focused on changes being witnessed in the Mississippi River Valley: "...The politics of climate change make it challenging for mayors south of St. Louis to discuss it openly, said Colin Wellenkamp, executive director of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative. They talk about disaster mitigation or disaster resilience — often code words for how they're responding to climate change without saying the words. Counts and other mayors understand that disasters are on the rise, though. Counts laughs when Wellenkamp is asked whether there's such a thing as a 100-year flood anymore. Wellenkamp trots out familiar statistics: Since 2011, the 10-state Mississippi River corridor has seen $50 billion in natural disaster impacts, including a 100-year flood, a 200-year flood, a 500-year flood, a 50-year drought and two hurricanes. The 75 cities in his network are learning how to live with the river, Wellenkamp said, "not make the river live with us." "Our focus has been: How do we really increase the number of solutions that are on the table?" he said. "And how many of those solutions can work in the long term?..."
Image credit: "A flooded home on stilts near Thebes, Ill." Photo by Erika Bolstad.
Managing Risk in a Changing Climate. WPSU-TV at Penn State has a description and link to the documentary: "Climate change poses real threats that call for tough choices under deep uncertainty. Louisiana has been called “the canary in the coal mine” for climate impacts as it reports rates of relative sea level rise among the highest in the world as more and more land disappears into the Gulf of Mexico. The public television documentary Managing Risk in a Changing Climate examines how Louisiana decision makers engage with researchers and stakeholders to inform choices about how to manage risks driven by changing sea levels and storms. Featuring some of the nation’s leading climate experts and narrated by Peter Coyote, Managing Risk in a Changing Climate examines one of humanity’s most pressing challenges through the lens of the many academic disciplines needed to address the impacts and surrounding economic, social, and environmental issues that come with managing risk in a changing climate..."