Conservation Minnesota

Heat Index Will Ventures Into Danger Zone Wednesday into Friday

84 F. high in the Twin Cities Sunday.
84 F. average high on July 17.
90 F. high on July 17, 2015.

July 18, 2000: Fall apparel makes an early debut with a 60 degree high temperature at the Twin Cities, 54 at Brainerd and 52 at Cambridge.
July 18, 1970: A tornado slices right through the center of Miltona.
July 18, 1867: The greatest ‘unofficial’ rainstorm in Minnesota history is reported. 36 inches of rain is recorded in 36 hours near Sauk Center. Disastrous flooding occurs in central Minnesota. The Pomme De Terre river becomes impassable; a courier attempted to cross on horseback and drowned. Flooding also occurs on the Mississippi, with millions of logs lost on the river.

Hot Flash: Heat Warnings Likely Later This Week

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward” preached Martin Luther King Jr.

We live in a fantastical age of running water, ice cream, air conditioning and swimming pool memberships. I wonder what the pioneers who settled Minnesota in the 1830s would make of all the creature comforts that insulate us from Mother Nature on a daily basis? They had little or no warning of heat waves, floods or tornadoes.

Did they complain – or take it one day at a time – with grim determination?

A heat wave is defined as “a prolonged period of abnormally hot weather”. The next 2 weeks may fit that (squishy) definition. 90s are likely Wednesday into Friday; models hinting at 100-degree heat over central and western Minnesota. Factor a dew point in the 70s and it may feel like 105F later this week. Models cool us off slightly next weekend before another surge of sweaty 90s arrive late next week.

100 degrees in the metro area? I wouldn’t rule it out. The last time MSP hit 100F was July 6, 2012 (102F).

Time to dig out your inner-pioneer.


Criteria for Heat Advisories and Warnings. Here’s an excerpt of a post from NOAA about what combinations of heat and humidity over a specific period of time cause them to pull the trigger with an advisory, watch or warning:Each National Weather Service Forecast Office issues some or all of the following heat-related products as conditions warrant. NWS local offices often collaborate with local partners to determine when an alert should be issued for a local area. For instance, residents of Florida are much more prepared for 90°F+ weather than residents in Alaska.”

  • Excessive Heat Warning—Take Action! An Excessive Heat Warning is issued within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions. The general rule of thumb for this Warning is when the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 105° or higher for at least 2 days and night time air temperatures will not drop below 75°; however, these criteria vary across the country, especially for areas not used to extreme heat conditions. If you don’t take precautions immediately when conditions are extreme, you may become seriously illness or even die.
  • Excessive Heat Watches—Be Prepared!Heat watches are issued when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 24 to 72 hours. A Watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain.
  • Heat Advisory—Take Action! A Heat Advisory is issued within 12 hours of the onset of extremely dangerous heat conditions. The general rule of thumb for this Advisory is when the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 100° or higher for at least 2 days, and night time air temperatures will not drop below 75°; however, these criteria vary across the country, especially for areas that are not used to dangerous heat conditions. Take precautions to avoid heat illness. If you don’t take precautions, you may become seriously illness or even die.
  • Excessive Heat Outlooks are issued when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days. An Outlook provides information to those who need considerable lead-time to prepare for the event.

Thursday Highs Above 100F? GFS guidance is predicting maximum temperatures as high as 106F from near Wheaton to Wadena and Brainerd on Thursday, with a heat index as high as 110 to 115F. It does appear the best chance of 100-degree surface temperatures will be over western and central Minnesota later this week. Map: WeatherBell.

European Numbers. ECMWF guidance predicts mid-90s Thursday and Friday with a heat index well above 100F in the Twin Cities; slight relief returning next weekend with mid-80s. You know it’s stinking hot when 80s represents “relief”. Graphic: WeatherBell.

Hottest Days: Wednesday into Friday. Our internal model ensemble shows fairly tight alignment among the various solutions; mid-90s likely Thursday, possibly Friday before a slight cooling trend next weekend. But air temperature tells only half the story. Meteogram: Aeris Enterprise.

It’s Not The Heat, It’s the Humility. Didn’t Yogi Berra say that? With dew points well into the 70s Wednesday into Friday mid-90 air temperatures translate into heat indices in the 105 to 110F range, probably high enough for the local National Weather Service office to issue an Excessive Heat Warning.



Corn and Climate: A Sweaty Topic. More on corn, evapotranspiration, rising dew points and the siting of weather instruments in a 2011 post at UCAR: “…Stephen Corfidi, a forecaster with the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, has been keeping an eye on Midwestern moisture trends for decades. “Subjectively, from analyzing surface data over my career, I would say with near certainty that surface dew points have increased in the upper-mid Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys over the last 30 years,” Corfidi told me by e-mail.  “In particular, it seems as though broad swaths (say, 300- to 50-mile–wide corridors) with surface dew points averaging in the mid 70s Fahrenheit are no longer uncommon.” NCAR’s Peggy LeMone was inspired by a chat with Corfidi to look further into the issue. As she explains in a 2007 blog post, corn is being grown in ever-more-dense fields, and this could be helping to boost dewpoints. However, the exact role of intensified cropping is difficult to isolate. Corn-based agriculture is shifting in a variety of ways, including the use of longer-season cultivars and earlier planting, as recently noted by scientists from NCAR and the University of Wisconsin–Madison…” (photo credit: Star Tribune).

30th Anniversary of the KARE-11 (Sky 11) Brooklyn Park Tornado. Where were you when this thing popped up on TV? Chance are you remember. I know where I was, in Studio A at KARE, watching the jaw-dropping live video from photographer Tom Empey and pilot Max Messmer. Here’s an excerpt from TC Media Now: “Immediately following the infamous Sky11 footage of the tornado over Fridley and Brooklyn Park on July 18, 1986, KARE-TV received tons of phone calls requesting the station to replay the footage. The footage was heavily replayed on the  6 pm and 10 pm newscasts the day of the event; during the weekend KARE put together this montage of both the helicopter footage and some amateur footage shot and provided to KARE…” (Image clip: TC Media Now and KARE-11).

* Check out the new and improved Springbrook Nature Center for yourself. This is where the July 18, 1986 tornado spent most of its time, ripping trees out of the park as if they were weeds. You can still see some evidence of the tornado, but park staff and volunteers have done a wonderful job creating a remarkable urban park unlike any other in the Twin Cities metro.


Baseball Brings Some Normalcy Back to Watkins. Here’s an excerpt from the St. Cloud Times: “Almost one week after a tornado swept through multiple cities in Central Minnesota, leaving heavy damage specifically in Watkins, communities have continued to work with one another to put the pieces back together. One way the residents of Watkins are enjoying the little things? Baseball…”

Photo credit: “A sign reads, “WATKINS TOUGH” is proudly propped outside of a residence on Sunday, July 17 in Watkins.” (Photo: Jessie Wade, jwade@stcloudtimes.com)


Earth’s Fifth Costliest Non-U.S. Weather Disaster on Record: China’s $22 Billion Flood. Dr. Jeff Masters reports at WunderBlog; here’s the intro: “A historic flood event continues in China, where torrential monsoon rains along the Yangtze River Valley in central and eastern China since early summer have killed 237 people, left 93 people missing, and caused at least $22 billion in damage, the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on Thursday. According to the International Disaster database, EM-DAT, this would make the 2016 floods China’s second most expensive weather-related natural disaster in history, and Earth’s fifth most expensive non-U.S. weather-related disaster ever recorded…”

Image credit: “This summer’s floods in China are the fifth most expensive weather-related natural disaster outside of the U.S. in recorded history, according to the International Disaster database, EM-DAT.”


Iowa Is Losing Millions of Trees – And It’s Hurting Water Quality, Experts Say. The Des Moines Register has the story – here’s a link and excerpt: “Iowa’s thirst for new farmland helped drive the loss of 97,000 acres of woodlands in just five years, a new federal report shows. It’s the first time in nearly 40 years that the state has seen a net loss of forested land, a disturbing development that experts fear is contributing to Iowa’s problems with farm runoff and poor water quality. Record-high prices for corn and soybeans in 2012 fueled much of Iowa’s woodland losses, as farmers put more land into production to reap bigger profits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service report...” (photo: IA DNR).




TODAY: Sunny & pleasant. Winds: NW 5-10. High: 84

MONDAY NIGHT: Partly cloudy and mild. Low: 67

TUESDAY: Sticky sunshine, bordering on hot. Winds: S 10-15. High: 89

WEDNESDAY: Isolated T-storm, feels like 100F+ Dew point: 75. Wake-up: 74. High: 92

THURSDAY: Heat Warning. Beastly hot, feels like 105-110F. Wake-up: 77. High:  97

FRIDAY: Still sauna-like, nighttime T-storms. Feels like 100-105F. Winds: NE 5-10. Wake-up: 79. High: 95

SATURDAY: Early storms. Clearing, slight relief. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 73. High: 87

SUNDAY: Sunny and pleasant. Not as sweaty. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 68. High: 86


Climate Stories…


The World’s Climate Pledges Are Not Even Close to Good Enough. Here’s the intro to a story at Co.Exist: “In a little over a decade, if every country around the world keeps every current promise to cut carbon emissions, it’s likely the planet will warm up 1.5 degrees Celsius. By 2100, the world’s average temperature may have gone up as much as 3.1 degrees—with a risk of hitting 4 degrees, well into the range for global catastrophe. A recent study looked at the pledges made at the Paris climate talks in 2015, where countries agreed to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius—and ideally below 1.5 degrees. The goal is what most scientists think is necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The problem is that the pledges each country has made so far will completely miss the target…”

Video: Las Vegas office of The National Weather Service.



Here Is What a Conservative Climate-Action Agenda Would Look Like. A carbon tax (let’s call it a fee), eliminating all subsidies across the board, a market-friendly approach that reduces the need for government intervention over time? Here’s an excerpt from Grist: “…The tax code is riddled with provisions that promote inefficiency and favor politically connected industries. Leading Republicans including House Speaker Paul Ryan and every presidential candidate in the last few cycles have argued for cleaning up and simplifying the tax code. One great way to do so would be to eliminate the various tax breaks for fossil fuel producers, particularly for oil and gas, which currently cost taxpayers several billion dollars per year. Republican politicians, of course, often favor these gifts because fossil fuels are popular among their base and are dominant in the economies of many red states. But principled conservatives should favor getting rid of them. (And if they want to make sure the government isn’t left favoring wind and solar, they could schedule fossil-fuel and clean-energy tax credits to phase out simultaneously.)…”

“The Most Singular of All The Things That We Have Found”: Cloud Study Alarms Scientists. Here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post: “…The study was led by Ramanathan’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography colleague Joel Norris, though Ramanathan said he was not involved in the work and didn’t know about it until shortly before publication. But Ramanathan said that the study basically confirms that there’s nothing to prevent the world from reaching the high levels of warming that have long been feared — except for our own swift policy actions, that is. “My reaction was, my goodness,” Ramanathan said. “Maybe the 4 to 5 degree warming, certainly we were all wishing there was some certainty that would make it go away. So I consider the findings of this paper, the data shows major reorganization of the cloud system...”

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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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