68 F. high in the Twin Cities Saturday.
80 F. average high on August 20.
74 F. high on August 20, 2015.
.38″ rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.
5.12″ rain so far in August.
August 21, 1918: Minnesota’s third deadliest tornado strikes Tyler and destroys the downtown area, leaving 36 dead.
August 21, 1886: High winds hit Northfield with winds blowing at 60 mph for 20 minutes. Peak gusts up to 75-80 mph are recorded.
August 21, 1883: The 4th deadliest tornado in Minnesota history hits Rochester. The tornado kills 31 residents and injures 100 more. Appalled by the lack of medical care received by the tornado’s victims, Mother Alfred Moes, founder of the Sisters of St. Francis, proposes to build and staff a hospital if Dr. W.W. Mayo will provide medical care. St. Marys Hospital opens in 1889 with 27 beds and eventually grows into the Mayo Clinic.
A Touch of October Today, But 80s Return Monday
Nobody will be complaining about the heat index today. Sunscreen is optional. Your favorite lake is warmer than the air temperature. And a flurry of light jackets this morning give way to shorts by afternoon.
The sun is as high in the sky as it was on April 21. Longer nights are brewing up progressively colder airmasses over Canada. One such cheap shot of chilly air spun up Saturday’s comma-shaped swirl of rain over Minnesota, with temperatures stunted in the 60s. Perfectly average for early October.
Note to self: summers are expanding, with a longer growing season. Two more months of boating; 70s well into October. It would be premature to write an obituary for the Summer of ’16.
Sunshine returns today; 40s and 50s early giving way to low 70s by late afternoon. Expect 80s Monday and Tuesday with midweek showers giving way to another push of cooler air by late week. No cold fronts, no torrential rains and storms with names. NOAA’s GFS model is hinting at a hurricane near New England by early September.
I’m skeptical – but remind me not to complain about a few cool fronts.
110,000 Homes Worth a Combined $21 Billion Are In Louisiana’s Flood-Affected Zones, Study Says. The Washington Post reports: “The first attempt to assess the scope of damage from the past week’s historic flooding in Louisiana has produced staggering numbers. Approximately 280,000 people live in the areas that flooded, according to an analysis released Friday by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. In those flood-affected areas are 110,000 homes worth a combined $20.7 billion and more than 7,000 businesses — about one in every five businesses in the region — that together employ more than 73,000 people. The figures underscore two of the biggest challenges that families as well as local, state and federal officials face as they work to recover from the unprecedented flooding: How to house those left suddenly homeless, and how to pay for the recovery…”
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Celestial Sights In The Coming Days. Sky & Telescope reminds us what we can look forward to in the nighttime sky: “Step outside as the stars come out, look southwest, and you’ll see an eye-catching pattern. For the next few days (August 17–22), bright orange Mars shines to the right of Saturn and the reddish star Antares. The three form a tall triangle that changes every night. Mars is moving leftward on its way toward passing between the other two. Next Tuesday and Wednesday, August 23rd and 24th, the triangle will collapse to a nearly vertical line of three shining points. After that, Mars will continue leftward and the triangle will widen again, pointing in the opposite direction…”
Image credit: “Saturn, Mars, and Antares line up almost vertically on the evening of August 23 and 24, 2016. Have a look!” Credit: Sky & Telescope diagram.
Cruel Summer: Floods, Fires and Heat. Andrew Freedman connects the dots in an excellent overview of what’s happening at Mashable; here’s an excerpt: “…The ‘signal’ of climate change is no longer subtle. We are seeing climate change impacts now play out, on our television screens, in the headlines, on our television sets,” said Michael Mann, director of Penn State University’s Earth System Science Center. “Whether it’s the multitude of thousand-year flooding events we’ve seen over the past year, the massive wildfires, the strongest hurricanes in both hemispheres, etc., we are now dealing with the impacts of climate change on a daily basis,” Mann told Mashable in an email. “What more do the critics need to see? It’s almost like someone up there is trying to tell them something…”
New Advice for the Graduate. There’s a Green Future in Plastics. Really? Bloomberg reports: “Scientists at Exxon Mobil Corp. and the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered an alternative to the most energy-hogging part of manufacturing plastics, potentially keeping 45 million tons of carbon dioxide out of the Earth’s atmosphere each year. The breakthrough, set to be published in the Aug. 19 issue of the journal Science, ultimately may help chemical plants shrink their carbon footprint and help the world meet ambitious targets for paring the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change. Although nearly 200 nations agreed last December to rein in carbon dioxide emissions by boosting energy efficiency and shifting to cleaner sources of electricity, experts say it’s also essential to green up industrial manufacturing…”
Northeast Ohio is Built Like New England Because It Used To Be Owned by Connecticut. I had no idea, but Atlas Obscura enlightened me: “If you look at a map of Connecticut, paying particular attention to town names, and then do the same to Northeast Ohio, you might get the impression that, at some point, the map was folded over onto itself before Ohio had been filled in, and before the ink of Connecticut’s place names had dried. That’s because in a sense, it was. In America’s early years, what is now Northeast Ohio belonged to Connecticut, and in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Connecticut transplants gave Ohio many of its names, institutions, traditions, and people, into what was then called the Connecticut Western Reserve…”
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“If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” – Catherine Aird
TODAY: Cool sun, a much better day. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 73
SUNDAY NIGHT: Clear and comfortable. Low: 59
MONDAY: Partly sunny with a warm wind. Winds: S 15-30. High: 84
TUESDAY: Sticky sun, feels like summer again. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 68. High: 89
WEDNESDAY: Showers and T-storms likely. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 67. High: 81
THURSDAY: Intervals of sun, cooler breeze. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 60. High: 76
FRIDAY: Plenty of lukewarm sunshine. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 58. High: 77
SATURDAY: Chance of showers, few T-storms. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 60. High: 76
The 1-in-1,000 Rainfall That Drove the Louisiana Flood. Hunter Cutting takes a look at attribution at Nexus Media: “…The record levels of water vapor that fueled the Louisiana flood are consistent with the global trend toward increasing water vapor in the atmosphere — a trend driven by global warming. Basic physics tells that a warmer atmosphere can hold more water. And, indeed, that is exactly what global observations report. The atmosphere acts like a sponge, holding water vapor, and as it warms it holds more moisture. And like a sponge, the atmosphere dumps out more water when passing storms wring out that extra moisture. Not surprisingly, observations have also reported a global trend toward extreme rainfall as the atmosphere dumps more water when it rains…”
Arctic Faces “Boom” in Shipping As Ice Melts. Here’s an excerpt from Climate Home: “…While a smattering of yachts and smaller passenger ships have plied these Arctic waters over the years, never before has such a large ship set sail on such an ambitious, and risky, voyage through the Northwest Passage. The Serenity’s hull is not strengthened against sea ice, and a conventional icebreaker won’t escort her; instead, she’ll be accompanied by the RRS Shackleton, a British logistics vessel typically used to support Antarctic researchers. Perhaps that’s why each passenger is required to carry $50,000 in evacuation insurance in addition to the $20,000 to $120,000 they paid for their ticket. However unprecedented, the Serenity’s voyage is a sign of things to come. This may be the beginning of a boom in Arctic vessel activity...”
Space, Climate Change, and the Real Meaning of Theory. Here’s an excerpt of an excellent essay from Piers Sellers at The New Yorker: “…Climate-change deniers in the United States have done a first-class job in spreading confusion and misinformation. As a result, many prominent politicians insist, and get away with insisting, that climate change is a hoax, a mantra that has gained some credibility through sheer repetition. Climate deniers are also fond of saying that global warming is not resolved in science or is “just” a theory. This is a perfect example of Orwellian Newspeak which also flies in the face of three hundred years of scientific progress, in which intellectual argument and conviction must be based on facts and substantiated theories, rather than personal beliefs or biases. It is also dangerous. If nothing is done to reduce carbon emissions over the next couple of decades, our climate models predict that there will be massive changes in the global precipitation and temperature patterns, with huge effects on water and food security, and dramatic sea-level rise…” (Image credit: NASA).