Conservation Minnesota

Brushed By Sprinkles (on track for warmest U.S. spring since 1895)

62 F. high temperature in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

74 F. average high for May 30.
88 F. high temperature on May 30, 2011.
.01″ of rain predicted today (NAM model). No significant rain expected through Saturday.
+5.3 F. May temperatures in the Twin Cities are running more than 5 degrees above average, to date.

Near 3,000 Record High Temperatures Across The USA So Far In 2012. ClimateClimate has the details below.

Warmest spring for the USA since 1895 shaping up – details below.


Thursday Severe Risk. Cool, Canadian air pressing southward will spark strong to severe storms later today from Houston to Little Rock, Memphis, Louisville and Atlanta, according to SPC.

180-Hour Outlook. Here is the raw GFS model data looking into the middle of next week. A cool rain pushes across the Midwest into the Great Lakes today and Friday, while the soggy remains of “Beryl” pinwheel out into the North Atlantic. Warm air pushes north over the weekend, a more summerlike spell returning to much of the USA next week.


QPF. The 5-day rainfall outlook calls for a continuation of dry weather for the southwest, moderate rain for Seattle, the heaviest rains from Oklahoma City to Detroit, upstate New York and northern New England. South Florida may pick up some 2-4″ rainfall amounts, based on NOAA models.

A Week’s Worth Of Rain. The heaviest (5-6″) rainfall amounts fell from the Duluth and Brainerd area into the northern and western suburbs of the Twin Cities to Glencoe and Mankato. That’s about 4-6 week’s worth of rain in 7 days. Source: NOAA.

Drought-Busting Rains For Northern Florida. NOAA Doppler radar estimates show some 8-10″ rainfall amounts over the last 7 days from Ocala to Jacksonville, Florida.

Hurricane Fact. NOAA has the details: “Did you know? Most hurricane deaths and damages aren’t due to winds – they happen because of flooding. Visit www.floodsmart.gov to find out if you live in a flood-prone area and how flood insurance can lessen the financial impact of a flood. Be a force of nature this hurricane season.”

Whitewater-Baldy Complex Fire Now Biggest Ever In New Mexico. Here’s an excerpt of a KOB.com update and video: “The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire has reached a sad milestone. It is now the biggest fire in New Mexico history. New numbers from the U.S. Forest Service on Wednesday show the fire has burned 170,272 acres, surpassing the Las Conchas fire, which burned 156,293 acres last summer near Los Alamos. The Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain in the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico.”


More Summer Heatwaves In Europe: Predictability Of European Summer Heat From Spring And Winter Rainfall. Meteorologists and climatologists talk of “telecommunications” – strange links and odd atmospheric domino effects that leave us scratching our collective heads. Here’s an interesting finding from Science Daily: “The prediction, one season ahead, of summer heat waves in Europe remains a challenge. A new study led by a French-Swiss team shows that summer heat in Europe rarely develops after rainy winter and spring seasons over Southern Europe. Conversely dry seasons are either followed by hot or cold summers. The predictability of summer heat is therefore asymmetric. Climate projections indicate a drying of Southern Europe. The study suggests that this asymmetry should create a favorable situation for the development of more summer heat waves with however a modified seasonal predictability from winter and spring rainfall.” Photo: NOAA.

Now’s The Time To Formulate Your Hurricane Survival Plan. Here’s some very good advice from the meteorologists at WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, Florida (including WeatherNation TV alum Bay Scroggins), as reported at TCPalm.com: “….My big thing with telling viewers how to prepare is that when hurricane season is about… you have to think in terms of ‘what am I going to do?’” Scroggins said. “Because waiting until right before the storm is upon us is just way too late.” He recommended having a plan that assures the safety of children, special needs family members and pets. “I don’t think it’s too early on the first day of June making a phone call with a pet-friendly shelter or your local vet,” he said. “And for those with special needs, call shelters ahead, because there are very few shelters that can handle breathing machines, constant medications and Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Those are not people that you can wait to prepare for.”

Montreal Floods “Exceptional” Says Mayor. Canada’s CBC Network has more details and videos about recent severe flash floods: “Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay says the “exceptional” rain that fell Tuesday overwhelmed the city’s sewer system. “No sewer collector network would have been able to manage the quantity of water that we saw yesterday evening,” Tremblay told a news conference today. Several boroughs that reported record rainfall saw widespread basement flooding. Tremblay said city crews were sent out to repair sewer pipe covers and handle the overflow. Efforts are underway to mop up flooding after Tuesday’s massive downpour caused water accumulation in basements, on highways and streets, in city buses and in the underground subway system.”

“Ask Paul”. Weather-related Q&A:

Paul, 
Took these (Monday) on the way back from Saganaga Lake.  First one is of the Temperance River.  The others are at Gooseberry Falls.  Was hiking at Temperance last month and it was nothing like this.  Last time I was at Gooseberry was in March and I was ice climbing.  What a difference!!
Lightning question:
We were camped right by the border on Sag Lake Fri-Mon.  Sunday night we had a few bands of T-storms.  Nothing very severe but the lightning was amazing.  We were inside the tent so I couldn’t see bolts but there had to have been 50-100 flashes per minute but rarely was there any thunder.  That might be something I’d associate with heat lightning but it never got above 55 degrees up there (if that).  Any idea what it was?  Also, any good references that explain when the danger is highest for CG lightning with a thunderstorm?
Thanks!
Steve Burns
Steve- thanks for the great pics (displayed above) and an interesting questions. You can often see lightning 50-200 miles away, but thunder is rarely heard from a storm much more than 5-7 miles away. What some refer to as “heat lightning” is simply lightning from a distant thunderstorms, sometimes even over the horizon, reflecting off of haze or high clouds. As a rule of thumb – 25 lightning flashes/minute or more is a tip-off that a storm may be especially severe, capable of large hail, even tornadoes. Recent data suggests a sudden drop-off in lightning strikes right before tornado formation, as the updraft collapses, bouyant downdrafts interacting with sputtering updrafts to focus horizontal wind shear about a vertical axis that (sometimes, on rare occasions) results in tornado formation.

Paul
____________________________________________________________________________________
Where can I buy a good NOAA weather radio? Need one that includes the metro area and Leech Lake area, Can’t seem to find it by Google.”

Thanks,
Kathy Voss
Kathy – any Best Buy, Target or Radio Shack should have a good selection of NOAA Weather Radios, priced between $30 and $70. Make sure you purchase one with “SAME” technology, which allows you to input only the specific county or counties you’re interested in. Every county has a number – you plug in the number assigned to your county; that way you won’t go crazy when warnings are issued for counties 100 miles away. Midland makes a solid NOAA Weather Radio, btw. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: NOAA Weather Radio is the cheapest, most effective form of life insurance you can buy.
_____________________________________________________________________________________

Paul,

This isn’t a question but I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your column from Memorial Day. It was interesting to read about your family history and especially about your son’s graduation from the Naval Academy today: CONGRATULATIONS to all of your family! It was 8 years ago today that my youngest son (also Paul) graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point, so I know how much pride you and your family are feeling now. Best wishes to you son as he is commissioned and God speed as he continues his life in the service of our country. My son is currently in his 4th overseas tour, and his second one to Afghanistan where he is serving as a Company Commander in a Stryker battalion, based out of Fort Lewis in WA. Thanks for all of your interesting columns!

Mary Tanghe

Mary – thanks for the nice note; appreciate you reading the weather column, and please send my thanks to your son, Paul, the very definition of a modern-day American Hero. We don’t take his service for granted. Our prayers are with Paul and his remarkable family.

Facebook: The Ultimate Dot Com. I was in the mood to dig up a little more info on Facebook, a utility (?) many of us spend WAY too much time on, sort of like a 21st century version of the telephone party line, the dial tone of our lives. Here’s a snippet of a fascinating article from John Cassidy at The New Yorker: “History will record that Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t the first college student to have the idea of enabling people to set up Web pages and share stuff with their friends. Yesterday, my colleague Silvia Killingsworth wrote about the Winklevoss twins, two Harvard grads who famously accused Zuckerberg of stealing the idea for Facebook while working on their fledgling site Connect U. Before the Winklevii, there were the folks behind MySpace and Friendster. And before them, way back in 1995, there were Todd Krizelman and Stephen Paternot, who launched TheGlobe.com from their dorm rooms at Cornell. TheGlobe.com allowed people to create their personal space online, upload pictures, and set up what came to be known as blogs. By 1998, it had more than two million members, which was then considered impressive. It also had a business plan: sell advertising.”


Exclusive: Here’s The Inside Story On What Really Happened With The Facebook IPO. Is it me, or does the photo above look more like a mug shot? Good grief. The “Facebook going public” story just gets stranger and stranger over time; here’s an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the IPO From Hell from businessinsider.com: “And now for some more bombshell news about the Facebook IPO… Earlier, we reported that the analysts at Facebook’s IPO underwriters had cut their estimates for the company in the middle of the IPO roadshow, a highly unusual and negative event. What we didn’t know was why. Now we know. The analysts cut their estimates because a Facebook executive who knew the business was weak told them to. Put differently, the company basically pre-announced that its second quarter would fall short of analysts’ estimates. But it only told the underwriter analysts about this.”

 

Photo credit above: ceoworld.biz.

The Facebook Illusion. Hey, I have nothing against FB or Mr. Zuckerburg; it’s the classic (Harvard) rags-to-riches story, a subtle yet blunt reminder that anyone, in theory, can still get (very) rich in the good ‘ol USA. Will we still all be using FB in 5 years? Probably. Is the company going to have a tough time making the dollars (especially mobile advertising dollars) match the hype? Not sure – they have their work cut out for them, but I’m not sure I’d bet against them right now. Here’s an excerpt of a New York Times Op-Ed that may be of interest: “…I will confess to taking a certain amount of dyspeptic pleasure from Facebook’s hard landing, which had Bloomberg Businessweek declaring the I.P.O. “the biggest flop of the decade” after five days of trading. Of all the major hubs of Internet-era excitement, Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking site has always struck me as one of the most noxious, dependent for its success on the darker aspects of online life: the zeal for constant self-fashioning and self-promotion, the pursuit of virtual forms of “community” and “friendship” that bear only a passing resemblance to the genuine article, and the relentless diminution of the private sphere in the quest for advertising dollars.”

The Winkelvii. Hey, we have a theme going. Sick of Facebook stories? Me too, but it’s a slow weather day, so let’s dig in and find the juicy stuff. Here’s an excerpt of another fascinating story from The New Yorker, dated May 15, 2012: “It’s Facebook I.P.O. week, which is as good a time as any to revisit the company’s cast of founding characters. Mark Zuckerberg, the wunderkind programmer, co-founder, and C.E.O. turned twenty-eight yesterday. Chris Hughes, his roommate and Facebook’s first spokesman, is fundraising for Obama’s reëlection campaign and planning the gay wedding of the century. Eduardo Saverin, who was a year ahead of Zuckerberg at Harvard and is the company’s initial business manager, is renouncing his U.S. citizenship just in time to escape some of the taxes he would have to pay on upwards of several billion dollars’ worth of stock. And what of the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler (together known as the Winklevii), the upperclassmen who recruited Zuckerberg to work on their dating Web site, Harvard Connection, and later claimed that he stole their idea?

French “Bubble Hotel” Let’s You Sleep With Nature. Those crazy French, what will they think of next? Here’s an excerpt from gizmag.com: “Last year, designer Pierre Stephane Dumas unveiled his line of room-sized, transparent bubbles that allow people to sleep with almost nothing blocking their view of nature. His goal was to create a portable space that was both comfortable while giving the feeling of being out in the middle of any natural environment – and without disturbing the area very much. As enticing as those might be though, not many people are going to be able to afford the €7766 (US$10,987) price tag just to buy one for their weekend camping trip.”



Hints of Autumn. Free air conditioning for everyone! In spite of sunny peeks temperatures were a good 10+ degrees cooler than average yesterday, ranging from a brisk 57 at Alexandria to 60 St. Cloud, and 62 in the Twin Cities. .03″ of rain had fallen at Redwood Falls as of 7 pm Wednesday.

Paul’s Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:

TODAY: Patchy clouds, shower far south? Unseasonably cool. Winds: NE 10. High: 65
THURSDAY NIGHT: Partial clearing. Low: 51

FRIDAY: Partly sunny, late thunder possible. High: 73

SATURDAYIntervals of sun, lukewarm. Winds: W 10. High: 74

SUNDAYWarmer, better day for the lake. Few T-Storm north. Winds: SW 10. Low: 58. High: 81

MONDAY: Damp start, then warm sun. Low: 62. High: 82

TUESDAY: Plenty of sun, feels like summer again. Low: 64. High: 83

WEDNESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, probably dry. Low: 63. High: 81

A Quiet Week
I’m sure enjoying the last day of September! The summer went by quick, didn’t it? I know, not funny.
I’m waiting for Garrison Keillor’s creative crew to do a sketch about a mythical Lake Wobegon family unable and unwilling to come out of their basement. One too many tornado warnings.
Weather phobia is a real concern, especially for kids. Tornado trauma can inspire them to grow up to become meteorologists, in fact most TV forecasters were inspired by a storm, a flood or blizzard. No one with full command of their faculties sets out to guess the weather on a daily basis.
Breaking news: ClimateClimate reports we’re about to crush the record for warmest spring, nationwide, since 1895. So why is my furnace rumbling away this morning? Enjoy the cool front; this push of Canadian air will cause storms to detour south of Minnesota today. We warm up into the weekend; only an isolated shower Friday, maybe a T-storm up north by Sunday when highs top 80. No, this weekend won’t be nearly as soggy as last. Dry, summerlike 80s return next week.
Oh, about that imaginary, timid, storm-rattled family refusing to come out of the basement? Check the radon levels. That would be just my luck.
* photo credit here.



Climate Stories…

Fat Lady Preparing To Sing: U.S Crushing Warmest Spring Record. Here’s an excerpt from CapitalClimate: “As suggested last week, the U.S. is well on its way to crush the record for warmest spring since national temperature data began in 1895. Here’s an indication of just how far that record could go. The previous record spring in 1910 had a national average temperature of 55.1°. However, the March 2012 temperature exceeded March 1910 by 0.5° to set a new record for the month. April 2012 then exceeded April 1910 by 1° (see the charts to the right).  At this point, May 2012 would have to be 1.5° cooler than May 1910 to avoid exceeding the record. What are the chances of that? Somewhere between slim and none.”


Sunscreen In The Sky? Reflective Particles May Combat Warming. Maybe it’ll come to this – spraying chemicals into the atmosphere to counteract the influence of (warming) greenhouse gases. More and more credence is being given to “geo-engineering”. Dumping more chemicals into the sky – what can possibly go wrong? Here’s a more upbeat assessment from National Geographic: “Spritzing a sunscreen ingredient into the stratosphere could help counteract the effects of global warming, according to scientists behind an ambitious new geoengineering project. The plan involves using high-altitude balloons to disperse millions of tons of titanium dioxide—a nontoxic chemical found in sunscreen as well as in paints, inks, and even food. Once in the atmosphere, the particles would spread around the planet and reflect some of the sun’s rays back into space. About three million tons of titanium dioxide—spread into a layer around a millionth of a millimeter thick—would be enough to offset the warming effects caused by a doubling of today’s atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, according to project leader and chemical engineer Peter Davidson.”

A Conservative’s Approach To Combating Climate Change. Here’s an article that caught my eye; an excerpt from The Atlantic: “No environmental issue is more polarizing than global climate change. Many on the left fear increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases threaten an environmental apocalypse while many on the right believe anthropotenic global warming is much ado about nothing, and, at worst, a hoax. Bot sides pretend as if the climate policy debate is, first and foremost, about science, rather than policty. This is not so. There is substantial uncertainty about the scope, scale, and consequences of anthropogenic warming, and will be for some time, but this is not sufficient justification for ignoring global warming or pretending that climate change is not a serious problem.”

A Better Way To Fight Climate Change. Here’s a snippet of an Op-Ed that caught my eye at The Star Tribune: “Climate change, we are often told, is everyone’s problem. And without a lot of help containing greenhouse gas emissions from rapidly growing emerging market countries (not to mention a host of wannabes), the prospects of avoiding disaster are small to nil. Now you tell us, retort policymakers in the have-less countries: How convenient of you to discover virtue only after two centuries of growth and unfettered carbon emissions. Since you were the ones to get us into this mess, it’s your job to get us out. (The United States’ what-me-worry posture on climate change does not, of course, make the West’s efforts to co-opt the moral high ground any more convincing.)


Can Market Forces Really Be Employed To Address Climate Change? Here’s a story from The Huffington Post:Debate continues in the United States, Europe and throughout the world about whether the forces of the marketplace can be harnessed in the interest of environmental protection, in particular, to address the threat of global climate change. In an essay that appears in the Spring 2012 issue of Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, my colleague, Joseph Aldy, and I take on this question. In the article — “Using the Market to Address Climate Change: Insights from Theory & Experience” — we investigate the technical, economic, and political feasibility of market-based climate policies, and examine alternative designs of carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, and clean energy standards.”

How Americans Use Energy, In Three Simple Charts. Here’s an excerpt of a very interesting article from The Washington Post: “Donald Marron passes along a very handy chart from the Congressional Budget Office looking at what sources of energy the United States relies on — and for what purpose. Do we need more charts? We probably need more charts. Here’s another handy one showing where U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions come from, sector by sector, courtesy of a new report from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.”

Climate Change A Classic Culprit In Collapse Of Great Civilizations. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting story at Catholic Online: “We can’t help but transport ourselves back through time into the shoes or sandals of some ancient denizen of a once vast and unrivalled city whose society is slowly descending into chaos and wonder, “how did this happen to us?” Today, the collapse of modern civilization is the stuff of science fiction and horror, and as far from reality as any Hollywood blockbuster or the latest zombie thriller. Yet, history is a great predictor of the future and according to history, we are also doomed. But why, and how, remain the questions. If the answers lie in history, then it pays to delve as deeply as possible to find the facts. Over the past century, a small army of scholars has labored from one generation to the next to decipher what happened to one of the world’s largest, most advanced civilizations, and why they disappeared into the sands of time.”

Photo credit above: “The cities of the Harappan civilization were well constructed sophisticated affairs with a surprising number of modern conveniences such as plumbing.”
 

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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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