Conservation Minnesota

Brushed by a Midweek Hot Front – The Source of Ongoing Weather Paranoia

82 F. high on Sunday at KMSP.
82 F. average high on August 7.
84 F. high temperature on August 7, 2015.

August 8, 1930: A record high of 102 is set at Redwood Falls.

Increasingly Warm and Sticky, then Weekend Relief

What keeps me up at night? The statistical inevitability of an EF-4 tornado hitting the downtown core of a big city. A western fire growing out of control, igniting close-in suburbs. A large urban area running out of water. And “Hurricane Amnesia”. It’s been a decade since the U.S. was hit by a Category 3 storm or stronger. Hubris. Overconfidence.

“Technology will save us from a series of poor decisions”. Right.

Track and intensity of a storm is obviously important. But SPEED can be an even better predictor of impacts, especially rain amounts. When systems stall, bad things result. That may be the case along the Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle this week, with some 10-20 inch rain amounts. No hurricane or tropical storm, just a stalled tropical low unleashing more biblical rains.

We heat up into midweek; 90F possible Wednesday before T-storms and a cool frontal wind shift drop high temperatures into the 70s next weekend with a slow clearing trend.

The worst of the heat wave stays to our south; stormy ripples on the northern edge of this sizzling air keeps us wetter than average.


Midweek Sauna. Models show a heat index well into the 90s by Wednesday and Thursday, when T-storms may break the heat. A significant cool-down is likely by the end of the week. Graphic: Aeris Enterprise.


Big Temperature Swings. After sweating it out Tuesday into Thursday temperatures cool off by the weekend as surface winds blow from the northwest again, another cool, Canadian kiss with highs in the 70s and lows dipping into the 50s. ECMWF forecast: WeatherBell.

Cool Nights by Friday. If you’re heading north next weekend consider a light jacket or sweatshirt – nights will be cool and crisp with lows in the 50s, even a few 40s possible over the Minnesota Arrowhead.

Aeris Weather Briefings: Issued Sunday afternoon, August 7, 2016.

* Stalled tropical disturbance expected to drop a hurricane’s worth of rain on northern Florida and portions of the Gulf Coast this week.

* 10-15″ rainfall totals can’t be ruled out by next weekend, when rains will finally begin to wind down.

* I expect serious, even historic flooding of urban areas, rivers and streams later this week. Urban areas impacted will include Tampa, Ocala, Panama City, Pensacola, Mobile and metropolitan New Orleans. Facilities that experience flooding problems during tropical storms or hurricanes can anticipate problems this week.


Atmospheric Holding Pattern. As we’ve discussed in previous briefings when weather stalls bad things often result. Such will be the case this week as an area of tropical low pressure rotates over the Gulf Coast, waves of heavy showers and T-storms continuing to reform and push ashore with potentially record rainfall totals by next weekend, especially over the Florida Panhandle.


First of (Many) Watches and Warnings. Our confidence levels are high that significant flooding will be reported along the Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle this week, in spite of no formal tropical storm or hurricane. Which underscores the reality that the speed of a system can be even more important than the intensity or track, at least when it comes to rainfall totals. (Graphic: Aeris Enterprise).


Why We’re So Concerned. All models show excessive rainfall amounts, including ECMWF (European) guidance, which often does a better job, overall, than NOAA models when it comes to tropical systems. No model is infallible, but we’ve seen several days in a row of model rainfall predictions in excess of 10″ from near New Orleans and Mobile to Pensacola, Panama City and the northern suburbs of Tampa and Clearwater. This stealthy, “no-name” storm may result in greater impacts from heavy rain and subsequent flooding than any named storm ever could. (Graphic credit above: WeatherBell).

We’ll keep you posted – another update on Monday.

Paul Douglas, Senior Meteorologist,  AerisWeather


Billion Dollar Weather Disasters Since 1980. Dollar-adjusted damage from tropicals systems exceed all other forms of severe weather combined, according to data from NOAA NCDC: “The distribution of damage from U.S. Billion-dollar disaster events across the 1980-2016 period of record (as of July 2016) is dominated by tropical cyclone losses. From 1980-2016, land falling tropical cyclones have caused the most damage ($547 billion, CPI-adjusted) and also have the highest average event cost ($16.1 billion per event, CPI-adjusted). Drought ($218 billion, CPI-adjusted), severe storms ($175 billion, CPI-adjusted) and inland flooding ($97 billion, CPI-adjusted) have also caused considerable damage based on the list of billion-dollar events. It is of note that severe storms are responsible for the highest number of billion-dollar disaster events (81) yet the average event cost is among the lowest ($2.2 billion, CPI-adjusted) but still substantial. Tropical cyclones and drought represent the second and third most frequent event types (34 and 23), respectively...”


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…”



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).


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: Partly sunny, balmy. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 82

MONDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and mild. Low: 70

TUESDAY: Hotter, stickier, stray T-storm possible. Winds: SW 8-13. High: 88

WEDNESDAY: Hot sun, still muggy. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 72. High: near 90

THURSDAY: Best chance of heavy T-storms all week. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 74. High: 84

FRIDAY: Blue sky, more comfortable breeze. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 70. High: 82

SATURDAY: Morning sun, PM clouds, shower. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 62. High: 76

SUNDAY: Sunnier, nicer day of the weekend. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 58. High: 78


Climate Stories…

Scientists Warn World Will Miss Key Climate Target. The warming appears to be accelerating, with or without an El Nino turbo-boost. Here’s an excerpt from The Guardian: “…However, figures – based on Met Office data – prepared by meteorologist Ed Hawkins of Reading University show that average global temperatures were already more than 1C above pre-industrial levels for every month except one over the past year and peaked at +1.38C in February and March. Keeping within the 1.5C limit will be extremely difficult, say scientists, given these rises. These alarming figures will form the backdrop to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change talks in Geneva this month, when scientists will start to outline ways to implement the climate goals set in Paris. Dates for abandoning all coal-burning power stations and halting the use of combustion engines across the globe – possibly within 15 years – are likely to be set…”



Climate Change Has Produced a New Underwater Sound Superhighway. I had no idea, but a story at Nautilus brought me up to speed; here’s a clip: “In March, a team of scientists dragged a blast furnace on a sled across a giant slab of ice in the Beaufort Sea, above the Arctic Circle. With the furnace, the researchers (from the United States Navy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) melted a hole in the ice big enough to fit their 850-pound, 12-foot drone, which they dropped through to the icy waters below. Their mission: to measure how climate change is altering the acoustics of the Arctic Ocean…”

Photo credit: “The USS Providence in the Arctic Ocean.” Marion Doss / Flickr


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 climate.gov: “…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…”

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About Paul Douglas

Paul Douglas
Paul Douglas is a meteorologist, author, entrepreneur, and software expert in Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota. He is a nationally recognized meteorologist with over 30 years of broadcast television and radio experience.
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