93 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities, tying for the hottest day of the year, so far.
82 F. average high for June 27.
77 F. high on June 27, 2011.
100 F. at several mesonet stations in the Mankato area Wednesday.
99 F. at New Ulm yesterday.
97 F. reported at St. James.
* no, it didn’t get quite as hot as I thought it might yesterday. A strong south/southwest wind never developed (favored for hottest temperatures). Patchy clouds and high dew points may have also prevented the mercury from climbing above 93 F. in the metro. Soil moisture levels are high – some of the sun’s energy went into evaporation instead of heating up the air near the ground. Caveats and lame excuses aside, it was hot enough for most folks.
Dew Point Prediction:
58 F. Today
61 F. Friday
66 F. Saturday
Hot Streak. We’ll come close to 90 today (upper 80s with a welcome dip in dew point). Every day from Friday through the end of next week the ECMWF (European) model has MSP at or above 90, with a chance of mid to upper 90s just in time for the 4th of July. 100 degrees? Not out of the question somewhere close to home by the middle of next week.
So How Warm Was It Wednesday? Here’s a post from the local Twin Cities National Weather Service: “The afternoon of the 27th saw the immense heat that had been building the past several days to our southwest show up in a big way across southern Minnesota in particular. The warmest observed reading at an airport today was 99 at New Ulm, though a couple of 100 degree readings were observed at mesonet stations in the Mankato area. Widespread 100 degree highs were observed across Kansas up into the Omaha area, with highs greater than 90 working up to about the I-94 corridor. The worst of the heat has by far been observed in western Kansas, where Hill City saw their second day in a row with a 115 degree high, and 5th day in a row with highs greater than 110. We will see a small respite from the heat through this weekend, but extended forecasts sow the warm dome of high pressure returning next week into the following week, with the first two weeks of July looking to get off on a rather toasty note across the Northern Plains into the Upper Mississippi River Valley.”
Heat Wave. NOAA’s national watch/warning map shows Excessive Heat Warnings from the Central Plains into the Ohio Valley, Excessive Heat Watches from the Delaware Valley and Washington D.C. south to Wilmington, North Carolina.
Flirting With 90. We’ll come close to 90 today, a better chance of topping 90 Friday, low 90s likely Saturday. The U.S. models have been (consistently) underestimating the warmth in recent weeks – I still think the ECMWF has a better grasp on the scope/intensity of the upcoming heat.
“1 in 4 Colorado homes lies in a fire risk zone, and 100,000 people have moved into those zones in the last decade“
“When you have Mother Nature in that kind of situation with those 3 factors that affect fire behavior: fuels, topography and weather, when those three are in alignment, there’s nothing anyone can do.” – from the PBS News Hour Wednesday evening.
Photo credit above: “A helicopters flies over as the Waldo Canyon Fire continues to burn Wednesday, June 27, 2012, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The wildfire doubled in size overnight to about 24 square miles (62 square kilometers), and has so far forced mandatory evacuations for more than 32,000 residents.” (AP Photo/Bryan Oller)
“Between June 19-25, there were 14 all-time high temperature records set or tied, along with two all-time overnight warm low temperature records. There were no all-time cold temperature records set or tied during the same period. In a long-term trend that demonstrates the effects of a warming climate, daily record-high temperatures have recently been outpacing daily record-lows by an average of 2-to-1, and this imbalance is expected to grow as the climate continues to warm.” – from a post at Climate Central; details below.
“As a species that’s why we’re all still here: we have spent our entire existence adapting. So we will adapt to this,” he said. “It’s an engineering problem, and it has engineering solutions.” – Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, from a Think Progress story; details below.
Colorado Wildfire Of “Epic Proporations” Displaces 32,000; Tests Firefighters. CNN has a comprehensive report; here’s an excerpt: “Firefighters again will battle inferno-like conditions on Wednesday as they try to tame an explosive wildfire that has already chased some 32,000 residents from their homes near Colorado Springs, Colorado. “This is a firestorm of epic proportions,” Richard Brown, the Colorado Springs Fire chief, said late Tuesday. Winds gusting to 65 mph through mountain canyons blew the wildfire through containment lines into northwest Colorado Springs on Tuesday afternoon. Gov. John Hickenlooper surveyed the Waldo Canyon Fire, telling reporters it was a difficult sight to see. “There were people’s homes burned to the ground. It was surreal,” he said late Tuesday night. “There’s no question, it’s serious. It’s as serious as it gets.”
Photo credit above: “Smoke from the Waldo Canyon Fire engulfs Interstate 25 north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, as the blaze burns out of control Tuesday, June 26. The 6,200-acre Waldo Canyon Fire has caused 32,000 residents to be evacuated. At least six other fires are active in Colorado.” Photo: Reuters.
Tracking The Colorado Springs “Waldo Canyon” Blaze. Over 15,000 acres have already burned, over 30,000 residents of Colorado Springs impacted by the largest fire in memory. The Denver Post has a terrific interactive map that integrates Google Maps with layers of data, including social media, photos, YouTube clips, etc – for a comprehensive look at the fire status.
Inciweb. There is a wealth of additional information about evacuation orders and additional links at inciweb.org, where you can find more information on every active fire in the USA.
Colorado Springs Mandatory Evacuation Area. Here is a map showing where people have to get out – staying isn’t optional – as far east as Interstate 25, as far south as Highway 24, courtesy of springsgov.com.
Live Webcam: Garden Of The Gods, Colorado Springs. On WeatherBug webcams you can see smoke, and occasionally flames from the wildfires burning around Colorado Springs – a harrowing sight.
Heatwave Bakes The Plains And Midwest, Moves East. My friend and fellow meteorologist Andrew Freedman has a good overview of the latest heat-bubble plaguing the USA in this post from Climate Central; here’s an excerpt: “A prolonged and historic heat wave is baking the West and migrating eastward, with temperatures from Texas to Chicago expected to approach or exceed 100°F during the next few days. Already, several all-time high temperature records have been set. On June 25 and 26, Denver tied its all-time record high temperature for any month of the year when the thermometer at Denver International Airport hit 105°F. That was an all-time high temperature record for June as well, and marked five straight days of 100 degree plus heat, which ties another record.”
Photo credit above: “Tanya Winters cools off in a fountain at Butler Park in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday June 26, 2012. Tuesday’s high temperature of 109 was the highest ever recorded in June in Austin.” (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman/MCT)
5-Day Outlook. Florida finally dries out, after some unofficial 30″ amounts near Tallahassee. A few T-storms rumble across the Midwest, more rain (and unusually cool weather) for the Pacific Northwest. QPF map courtesy of NOAA.
Debby Aftermath: Flooded Homes, Busted Roads. MSNBC.com has a good summary of the havoc triggered by “Debby”; here’s an excerpt: “Tropical Depression Debby moved off into the Atlantic on Wednesday, as many Florida communities started the long process of drying out and cleaning up. Flooding damaged thousands of homes, washed out roads, opened up sinkholes and closed a section of Interstate 10 — the state’s main east-west highway. In the Tampa area, more than 20 sinkholes opened up from the flash flooding, Tampa Bay Online reported. Water was up to the roofs at some homes in low lying areas of Live Oak, Fla., on Wednesday. Several feet of water remained around businesses in downtown near the courthouse and many roads were impassable.”
Photo credit above: Dave Martin/AP. “A flooded business in Live Oak, Fla., is inspected from the outside on Wednesday.“
Tropical Storm Debby: How A Deadly Storm Got Such A Cute Name. Some interesting weather nuggets in a story from The Los Angeles Times; here’s an excerpt: “The labeling and naming of hurricanes is a long-held practice that helps ease communication and tracking — especially when two or more tropical storms occur at the same time, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s more art than science, however, and can be fraught with controversy. Still, there is something about Debby — perhaps it’s the perky y at the end, reminiscent of a pigtailed schoolgirl practicing penmanship — that strikes many as being particularly ill-suited for a deadly storm.”
Photo credit above: “Residents of the Suncoast Gateway Mobile Village in New Port Richey, Fla., leave in a rowboat as Tropical Storm Debby sends floodwaters in.” (Associated Press / John Raoux / June 26, 2012)
NASA Measuring Tropical Storm Debby’s Heavy Rains From Space. Here’s an except of a very interesting story from phys.org – a new generation of low-orbiting satellites can derive rainfall rates (and total amounts) from space: “The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (or TRMM) satellite captured an image of Debby when it passed over the storm in the north central Gulf of Mexico on the morning of June 24 at 11:51 UTC (6:51 a.m. CDT). TRMM revealed that most of the rain associated with Debby is well away from the center. A large area of moderate rain north and east of the center extends from near Tampa Bay all the way around to near Panama City. A large band of intense rain lay just off shore, while light to moderate rain covered a broad area of the Florida peninsula.
How Rainfall is Mapped:
Data from several TRMM instruments are used to create rainfall images at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Rain rates in the center of image swaths are from the TRMM Precipitation Radar (PR), while those in the outer swaths are from the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI). The rain rates are then overlaid on infrared (IR) and visible data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner (VIRS). TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.”
Image credit above: “In this image of rainfall on June 24, 2012, created by NASA’s TRMM satellite, a large band of intense rain (darker red) lies just off Florida’s western shore, while light (blue areas) to moderate rain covers a broad area of the Florida peninsula. Moderate rain (shown in green) north and east of the center extends from near Tampa Bay all the way around to near Panama City. Tornado symbols mark the locations of tornado reports.” Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce
Tropical Storm Debby Floods Florida, Ends Drought. There is one (big) silver lining – the drought in Florida is history, as reported by Climate Central; here’s a snippet of the article: “By following a slow and erratic path in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Debby has dumped extraordinary amounts of rain on the Sunshine State, with many locations receiving at least 6 inches of rainfall — and the rain is still falling. Wind shear has kept the most active part of the storm on its eastern flank – directly on top of Florida. For example, as of June 25, Tarpon Springs had already received 21.04 inches of rain during June, eclipsing the record for the wettest June by nearly 3 inches. It has also been the wettest June in Tampa since records began there in 1890, according to the National Weather Service.”
Graphic credit above: “24-hour precipitation totals between June 25 and June 26 across northern Florida. Click on the image for a larger version.” Credit: NOAA/NWS.
Tropical Storm A Reminder To Protect Our Vital Interests. This applies to all weather phenomena, including tornadoes and floods, not just Hurricane Alley. Some good advice from The Bradenton Herald; here’s an excerpt: “While emergency management officials have yet to assess all the damage to beaches, homes and infrastructure, Gov. Rick Scott quickly declared a state of emergency. With all the water and wind damage to structures, insurance adjustors are already out on the streets inspecting damaged roofs and flooded vehicles and homes. While auto and flood insurance will cover much of the damage, roofs ripped apart by winds are the province of property policies. And Florida’s property insurance market remains rocky. The state-run insurer of last resort, Citizens Insurance Corp., holds $500 billion in risk exposure but only holds a $6 billion cash surplus and could cover storm damage amounting to $20 billion with its reinsurance policies and bond capacity making up the difference.”
Storm Chasers Head To Saskatchewan. Have you noticed that “Tornado Alley” is shifting north over time? I don’t recall professional storm chasers heading into Canada 15-20 years ago. As the climate warms and weather patterns shift north, for much of the summer the biggest temperature gradients (and resulting atmospheric clashes) will be north of the U.S. Canada border. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting article at The Calgary Herald: “A storm chaser says he and others from the southern United States are going to be watching the skies in southern Saskatchewan. Greg Johnson says on his blog that – quote – “Tuesday is looking scary in Saskatchewan.” He says forecast models show that severe weather is imminent and the risks include large hail, damaging winds, and strong tornadoes. Johnson says he will be in an area north and slightly east of Moose Jaw Tuesday looking for tornadoes and storms, adding the potential is so great that fellow storm chasers from the southern United States are converging on the Regina area with the expectation they’ll see some activity.”
Photo credit above: “Dust is kicked up as a possible tornado touches down in Taber, Alberta on Tuesday June 5, 2012. A strong storm cell moving north out of Montana triggered several tornado warnings and watches between Coaldale and Taber.” (AP Photo/Shannon Reynolds, The Canadian Press)
El Nino Comeback, Hurricane Setback? If we are, in fact, heading into another El Nino warming phase of the Pacific, winds over the tropics tend to be stronger, shredding developing tropical cyclones, in some cases preventing them from maturing into full-blown hurricanes. Tony Wood at philly.com has an interesting post; here’s an excerpt: “This morning, WSI Corp., the commercial weather service in Massachusetts, tweaked its hurricane outlook in light of two very different developments. First, since the season is off to a frisky start, with four tropical storms worthy of a name, the company bumped up the forecast for named storms from 11, to 12. More significantly, WSI now believes the season will be losing steam at a critical time, in September and October, when storms born off the African coast can crash into the U.S. East Coast. WSI meteorologist Todd Crawford banks the late-season outlook on the development of abnormally warm waters in the tropical Pacific, or El Nino, later in the summer. During El Nino, the heating of the overlying air ultimately results in strong upper-level winds from the west that can shear off incipient tropical storms in the Atlantic Basin before they can build into hurricanes.”
“Ask Paul”. Weather-related Q&A:
“Dear Paul – I truly appreciate your efforts to raise awareness about climate change. This is a hugely important issue that, unfortunately, is not covered enough by journalists. Do you have any advice for people who would like to get involved (beyond lowering their own carbon footprint) but are unsure how to do so?“
Peter Groynom, Minneapolis
Peter – thanks for your note, and a thoughtful question. It can be an overwhelming topic to consider. How can one person make a difference? By setting an example, by making a series of small changes in your behavior that just might, over time, rub off on friends and family members. You’re right about taking steps to lower your carbon footprint: consider buying a more fuel efficient vehicle, make sure your home is well insulated and operating at peak efficiency. The most important thing you can do as a citizen? Make sure your elected officials know that this is an important subject to you. Politicians respond to public opinion and a (loud) and passionate electorate. I asked a few climate scientists for their suggestions; here is a small sampling of what they said:
“Coordinated collective action is the only way to get out of this mess. Small individual actions are feel-good Band-aids that wealthiest, international-traveling, beef-eating, more-than-replacement-level-children-having, exurb-living, SUV-driving, McMansion-inhabiting, motorized-recreation-loving, big-box-shopping, drive-through-fast-food-buying, single-occupant-vehicle-commuting, kid-schlepping Americans do to feel good about themselves.
If you do all that, it doesn’t matter if you use paper or plastic (or recycled bags).
There has to be a fundamental change in the way we do things. The price of fossil fuels MUST include the cost of externalities associated with the loss of environmental services. These services are a fundamental property rights, and cannot be taken without just compensation. That’s how we need to pitch it from now on. Carbon dumping fee with dividend to those whose property rights are being taken is the only way out.”
– Mark Boslough
“A while ago someone (McKibben?) said that in order to minimize our carbon footprint we need to maximize our political footprint, a formulation I like very much.
“As we try to live a climate-friendly life, we face a seemingly endless series of decisions: what to drive, what to wear, what to eat, what technologies to use. Meanwhile, we’re bombarded with often conflicting messages from advertisers and the media about what products and lifestyle choices can lower our carbon footprint. What we really need is a reliable source of practical, science-based advice to help us make smart choices about the things that matter most. And now we have it. Based on an in-depth, two-year study, Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living (May 2012, Island Press) shows you the most effective strategies for reducing your global warming emissions, and how to take action at work, in your community, and politically.”
9 Beliefs Of Remarkably Successful People. Here’s a snippet of an article at Inc.com that caught my eye: “I’m fortunate enough to know a number of remarkably successful people. Regardless of industry or profession, they all share the same perspectives and beliefs. And they acto on those beliefs:
1). Time doesn’t fill me. I fill time.
Deadlines and time frames establish parameters, but typically not in a good way. The average person who is given 2 weeks to complete a task will instinctively adjust his effort so it actually takes 2 weeks. Forget deadlines, at least as a away to manage your activity. Tasks should only take as long as they need to take. Do everything as quickly and effectively as you can. Then use your “free” time to get other things done just as quickly and effectively.”
A Taste Of What’s To Come. It was the 8th day at or above 90 so far in 2012 in the Twin Cities. A trace of rain fell at Alexandria and St. Cloud, highs ranging from 67 at Grand Marais to 89 St. Cloud, 93 Twin Cities, 94 at Rochester and 96 at Redwood Falls.
Paul’s Conservation Minnesota Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota:
SATURDAY NIGHT: Muggy with a slight chance of a T-storm. Low: 70
As Exxon CEO Calls Global Warming’s Impacts “Manageable”, Colorado Wildfires Shutter Climate Lab. Life is full of irony, and this story underscores just how “manageable” a warming atmosphere really is. Here’s an excerpt from Think Progress: “Fueled by a warming climate, Colorado is experiencing its worst fire season in its history. As researchers at Boulder’s National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) joined 32,000 other Coloradans in fleeing the fires, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson spoke to the Council on Foreign Relations about the “manageable” risks of climate change: Rex Tillerson said at a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York that climate change was a “great challenge,” but it could be solved by adapting to risks such as higher sea levels and changing conditions for agriculture.”
Federal Appeals Court Upholds CO2 Rules. Andy Revkin at The New York Times has the story – here’s an excerpt: “The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has bluntly rejected challenges to the Obama Administration’s rules restricting carbon dioxide emissions as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Here’s the core conclusion of the panel and the full ruling: Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007)—which clarified that greenhouse gases are an “air pollutant” subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act (CAA)—the Environmental Protection Agency promulgated a series of greenhouse gas-related rules. First, EPA issued an Endangerment Finding, in which it determined that greenhouse gases may “reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.”
Court Decision Clears Way For Climate-Change Controls. The Salt Lake Tribune has more on the implications of the recent EPA ruling; here’s an excerpt: “Cleaner air and less of the pollution blamed for climate change will be among the benefits Utahns and other Americans can expect as a result of a federal appeals court ruling on Tuesday. That was the consensus of environmental groups reacting to a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia decision to uphold the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “endangerment” finding, clean-car standards and pollution permit requirements for new and expanding large industrial plants.”
Energy And Climate Change In The Southwest: A Prologue. Another interesting post from the climate scientists at Climate Central; here’s a snippet: “Last year was the hottest and driest on record in Texas. There were 90 days of 100-degree heat in Austin. The Texas drought of 2011 was the driest 12-month period on record, by a large margin. The state is just beginning to emerge from under the deep red blotch that consumed it on precipitation maps. 2011 was my first full year in Texas. But meanwhile across the rest of the American Southwest, where I’ve spent most of my life, other inauspicious records were being set. The Wallow Fire became the biggest in Arizona’s history, burning 538,049 acres. New Mexico, with my hometown of Santa Fe, experienced its biggest forest fire ever just a few weeks ago.”
More Evangelicals Fight Against Climate Change. Yes, you can love the Lord and still respond to science, data, and facts on the ground. Thank God there are people that still think like stewards and understand, on some level, that actions have consequences. Here’s an excerpt of a recent press release in The Vancouver Sun: “The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) will be running TV spots in key states asking viewers to tell their Senators “that defending the EPA’s ability to reduce carbon pollution is the right thing to do.” On Monday, May 25th, EEN’s President, the Rev. Mitch Hescox, will meet with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson, play the TV spot for her, and hand-deliver more than 40,000 messages of support from pro-life Christians. “We’re happy to stand side by side with Administrator Jackson as the EPA leads our country in reducing carbon pollution,” Hescox says. The TV spots highlight the extreme weather that has been plaguing the United States and point out that the poor in lesser developed nations are and will continue to experience more frequent and intense heat waves, droughts, floods and other harmful impacts due to climate change. “You do whatever it takes to protect someone you love,” the video narrator says. “What about the less fortunate in poorer countries? Climate change is threatening their lives. Jesus taught us to care for ‘the least of these,’ and today this means working to overcome climate change.”
Photo credit above: “The Evangelical Environmental Network’s TV spots highlight the extreme weather that has been plaguing the United States and point out that the poor in lesser developed nations are and will continue to experience more frequent and intense heat waves, droughts, floods and other harmful impacts due to climate change.”
Evangelicals And Climate Change: Global Warming Skeptics (Part 3). Here’s an excerpt of an interesting story at The Christian Post: “….The mainstream press for the better part of 20 years has given them equal time when they didn’t deserve it. When the arguments weren’t really compelling, the press has always been willing to say, ‘well the other side of the argument is …’ as if that side has equal weight to it.”
What’s an Evangelical to Do?
Though on opposite sides of the issue, Beisner and Cizik made similar claims. They both agreed that atmospheric carbon causes the Earth to get warmer. They both appealed to scientific evidence and believe the evidence is on their side. And, they both displayed concern for the poor and vulnerable. Perhaps the biggest difference between them has to do with how they view the Earth – fragile or robust. Beisner views the Earth as robust, able to handle the human-caused changes to the atmosphere. Cizik believes the Earth is fragile and too much human tinkering will have catastrophic effects.”