This Year – When In Doubt – Predict Rain
May you live in interesting times, the old proverb goes. Remember that year we couldn’t go outside much because it was RAINING all the time!? 2019 is already the third wettest year on record, to date. At the rate we’re going I expect us to smash the all-time record of 40.3 inches of precipitation at MSP, set in 2016.
This week may help to put us over the top. When weather stalls, bad things can unfold. The potential for severe flood or drought is magnified. A stalled warm frontal boundary focuses swarms of heavy showers and T-storms on Minnesota into Thursday night. Models print out another 2-4 inches of rain (a month’s worth) over the next 48 hours.
Which will add insult to injury for farmers trying to get out into their fields. According to USDA there’s a prevalence of white mold in soybean fields due to this wet rut. The corn crop is running 14 days behind last year.
Warm sunshine returns this weekend with a run of 80s next week. Strong gut feel: I don’t think we’ve seen our last 90F at MSP.
NOAA’s Chief Scientist Will Investigate Why Agency Backed Trump Over Its Experts on Dorian. The Washington Post has the latest in this sad, surreal saga: “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting chief scientist said in an email to colleagues Sunday that he is investigating whether the agency’s response to President Trump’s Hurricane Dorian tweets constituted a violation of NOAA policies and ethics. Also on Monday, the director of the National Weather Service broke with NOAA leadership over its handling of Trump’s Dorian tweets and statements. In an email to NOAA staff that was obtained by The Washington Post, the official, Craig McLean, called the agency’s response “political” and a “danger to public health and safety.” Trump’s incorrect assertion on Sept. 1 that Alabama “would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” set off a chain of confusion and outrage among the public, and within NOAA. At the time, the National Weather Service’s forecast guidance showed only a very small risk (about 5 percent) of tropical-storm-force winds for a small portion of Alabama...
Dorian’s Claim to Fame: 36 Hours of Pummeling Just One Spot. Two (apparent) trends: rapid intensification and a slow-down in the forward motion of hurricanes, more of a tendency for big storms to stall for extended periods (Harvey and Florence, now Dorian). Here’s a clip from Bloomberg: “Dorian wasn’t the deadliest or costliest hurricane to roam the Atlantic, but the two days it was stalled over the Bahamas, devastating the island nation, made it unique. “There has never been anything like it,” Ryan Truchelut, chief meteorologist at WeatherTiger LLC in Tallahassee, Florida, said in an interview. “We’ve never seen a Category 5 storm stall like that over one point for 36 hours. The energy it unleashed in such a small area has never happened before in the Atlantic.” The Bahamas, which were hit with 180 mile-per-hour winds and 2 feet or more of rain, “were extremely unlucky, and Florida dodged a bullet,” he said…”
Photo credit: “” Photographer: Adam Delgiudice/AFP.
Report: NOAA Jobs Were On The Line Due to Trump’s Bad Dorian Claims: Climate Nexus has links and headlines: “The Secretary of Commerce threatened firings at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is part of the Commerce Department, last week following forecasts that directly contradicted tweets from President Trump, the New York Times reports. Sources told the Times that calls made from Secretary Wilbur Ross to the acting administrator of NOAA Friday morning were what led to the agency’s much-maligned retraction late Friday of an accurate tweet from the National Weather Service’s Birmingham office, which alerted the public that Trump’s claim that Hurricane Dorian would impact Alabama was false. High-ranking scientists at the agency, including its acting chief scientist and the director of the National Weather Service, have spoken out publicly against Friday’s retraction, and the Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General is looking into the statement for possible ethics violations.” (Firings: New York Times $. Scientists: AP, NPR. Commentary: Washington Post, Jane Lubchenco, D. James Baker and Kathryn D. Sullivan op-ed $)
“Grand Bahama Right Now is Dead”. A Firsthand Look at Dorian’s Destruction. CNN reports: “…There is no power or running water. Aid is arriving slowly on the island of Grand Bahama, where Dorian parked for almost two days and caused damage one usually witnesses in a war zone. It’s impossible to fully capture the devastation we see every day. We’re only about 80 miles from Florida, but the miles of rubble Dorian left in its wake have made this part of the Bahamas feel as remote as any place on Earth. On August 30, CNN sent the three of us to Freeport, on Grand Bahama, to cover the storm. The trip was so last-minute that we bought many of the staples of hurricane coverage at an airport newsstand: beef jerky, peanut butter and as many water bottles as we could carry…”
Hurricanes Used to be Named After Women. Until These Feminists Stepped In. If you want something changed, speak up, right? Here’s an excerpt from The Lily: “…In 1953, the United States officially began exclusively using female names to identify tropical systems that formed during hurricane season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Feminists, most notably the late Roxcy Bolton — who is credited for creating the term “himmicane” — began to fight the tradition as early as the late 1960s. Male names wouldn’t be added to the rotation until nearly a decade later, said Liz Skilton, a professor of history at the University of Louisiana and author of “Tempest: Hurricane Naming and American Culture.” Bolton took particular issue with the naming of storms after Hurricane Camille devastated the Gulf Coast in 1969...”
Hurricane Patricia file image: ISS13 and NASA.
“Fighting for Water to Bathe – Water to Drink”. Some of the survivor accounts are harrowing and heartbreaking. CNN.com has the story – here’s an excerpt: “...A friend of hers hadn’t seen her children since the storm hit, she said. Edward Christian Sawyer III told CNN he and his family survived on Abaco by tying themselves together with an electrical cord and making their way together up a hill through the wind and water to get to his sister’s house on a hill, from his mother’s house nearby. “If we hadn’t done that, a few of us could have blown away,” he said. His mother’s house was destroyed, knocked off its foundation and flattened, he said. Sawyer said he went four days without food, and woke up every day just “praying to God you get off that rock,” he said. “It was hell...”
“Gas Plants Will Get Crushed by Wind, Solar by 2035, Study Says. Details via Bloomberg: “Natural gas-fired power plants, which have crushed the economics of coal, are on the path to being undercut themselves by renewable power and big batteries, a study found. By 2035, it will be more expensive to run 90% of gas plants being proposed in the U.S. than it will be to build new wind and solar farms equipped with storage systems, according to the report Monday from the Rocky Mountain Institute. It will happen so quickly that gas plants now on the drawing boards will become uneconomical before their owners finish paying for them, the study said...”
Image credit: TechCrunch.
The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy. I sure hope this is wrong, but in the spirit of full disclosure here’s a clip from a story at POLITICO: “…We’re to blame, said Rosenberg. As in “we the people.” Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and public figures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy. As a consequence, the center has collapsed and millions of frustrated and angst-filled voters have turned in desperation to right-wing populists. His prediction? “In well-established democracies like the United States, democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail...”
Are Smartphones a Gateway Drug? The Lighthouse at Macquarie University in Australia has some disturbing new findings: “…Neuroscience research shows that smartphones are making us stupider, less social, more forgetful, more prone to addiction, sleepless and depressed, and poor at navigation – so why are we giving them to kids? Williams is currently contributing to a large study at Macquarie investigating the relationship between social media addiction, gaming addiction and porn addiction. “All addiction is based on the same craving for a dopamine response, whether it’s drug, gambling, alcohol or phone addiction,” he says. “As the dopamine response drops off, you need to increase the amount you need to get the same result, you want a little bit more next time. Neurologically, they all look the same. “We know – there are lots of studies on this – that once we form an addiction to something, we become more vulnerable to other addictions…”
He Was Bullied for His Homemade U. of Tennessee T-Shirt. The School Just Made It an Official Design. CNN has a heartwarming story: “A Florida student obsessed with the University of Tennessee wanted to represent the Volunteers during his elementary school’s “College Colors Day,” but didn’t own any of their apparel — so he took the matter into his own hands. Laura Snyder, his teacher at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, says he drew a “U.T.”, the university’s logo, on paper and pinned it to an orange t-shirt….kids at lunch made fun of him…n hopes of raising his spirits, Snyder said she planned on buying him an official University of Tennessee T-shirt, and asked friends if they had contacts with the school who could “make it a little extra special for him.” By Thursday, her Facebook post had gone viral among Vols fans, with lots of people leaving supportive comments...”
Americans Skeptical of UFO’s but Say Government Knows More. Here’s are a couple of excerpts from Gallup.com: “As an internet campaign called “Storm Area 51” has nearly two million people pledging to break into a highly secure military base later this month in the hopes of uncovering possible secrets about UFOs, a recent Gallup poll finds two-thirds of Americans believe the government knows more about the subject than it has conveyed.
- 33% of U.S. adults believe that some UFO sightings over the years have in fact been alien spacecraft visiting Earth from other planets or galaxies.
- The majority, 60%, are skeptical, saying that all UFO sightings can be explained by human activity or natural phenomenon, while another 7% are unsure.
- 16% of Americans say they have personally witnessed something they thought was a UFO while the vast majority (84%) have not.
Even as most Americans are skeptical that aliens have visited Earth, the majority (56%) believe that those who spot UFOs are seeing something real, not just imagining it...”
79 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.
74 F. average high on September 10.
79 F. maximum temperature on September 10, 2018.
September 11, 1980: 3.35 inches of rain fall in St. Cloud.
September 11, 1942: A line of thunderstorms races across Minnesota at 70 mph, producing severe winds that would destroy 651 barns in a 30 mile wide, 180 mile long path.
September 11, 1931: The daytime high in St. Cloud was 96 degrees.
September 11, 1931: Summer still has its grip on Minnesota, with a high of 111 degrees at Beardsley.
September 11, 1900: The soggy remains of the Galveston Hurricane bring 6.65 inches of rain to St. Paul over two days.
September 11, 1807: Thick smoky weather is noted at Pembina.
WEDNESDAY: Heavy showers, T-storms. Winds: NE 8-13. High: 69
THURSDAY: Heavy T-storms, elevated flood risk. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 63. High: 75
FRIDAY: Windy with leftover showers. Winds: W 10-20. Wake-up: 58. High: 68
SATURDAY: Plenty of lukewarm sunshine. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 55. High: 79
SUNDAY: Warm sun, beach-worthy. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 63. High: 83
MONDAY: Mostly sunny, partly-sweaty. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 66. High: 86
TUESDAY: Feels like July! Sweaty sunshine. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 70. High: 88
Greta Thunberg’s New York Visit Inspires Young Climate Activists. The Washington Post has details: “Every Friday starting last December, 14-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor sat on a bench on 47th Street in Manhattan outside the United Nations. She was protesting adults and governments refusing to act on climate change. Sometimes she was joined by a few other young people. Recently she tweeted, “WEEK 37 … I’m alone like when I started.” But on August 30, Alexandria was alone no longer. She was joined by hundreds of kids, teens, 20-somethings — and Greta Thunberg. Greta is the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist and founder of the Fridays for Future movement. She was the inspiration for Alexandria to walk out of school every week, to call attention to what the girls call our planet’s climate emergency. Greta will speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23…”
Photo credit: “
Earth to CEO: Your Company is Already At Risk from Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from McKinsey’s & Co. Sustainability Practice, courtesy of Fortune Magazine: “Does your business treat climate change as a far-off risk, something for the future but not a priority today? That’s a mistake. Climate change is here. Its economic impact is real and growing, and action now is essential. Look at Florida’s tidal flooding, for example. Waters rose above the “nuisance” threshold in parts of Miami-Dade 14 days a year on average between 2005 and 2017, more than triple the rate of the 11 years prior. Or consider extreme heat like we saw this summer across Europe and are increasingly experiencing globally. In northern India, summer temperatures are hitting 120 degrees Fahrenheit, shutting down outdoor work in cities and entire regions for days at a time. Or agricultural degradation: In some parts of Brazil, the usual two-crop growing season may now only yield a single crop. Around the world, the list goes on and on…”
A Climate Change Frontier in the World’s Northernmost Town. Reuters has the photo essay; here’s a clip: “…We are losing the Svalbard we know. We are losing the Arctic as we know it because of climate change,” he says amid the constant crackle and trickle of the ice dissolving. “This is a forewarning of all the hardship and problems that will spread around the planet.” Since 1970, average annual temperatures have risen by 4 degrees Celsius in Svalbard, with winter temperatures rising more than 7 degrees, according to a report released by the Norwegian Centre for Climate Services in February. The “Climate in Svalbard 2100” report also warns that the annual mean air temperature in Svalbard is projected to increase by 7 to 10 degrees Celsius by the end of this century…”
The Hellish Future of Las Vegas in the Climate Crisis. “A Place Where We Never Go Outside”. The Guardian looks at the trends and projections; here’s an excerpt: “…And it will get worse. Las Vegas is the fastest-warming city in the United States, its temperatures having risen 5.76F since 1970. A June study of coroner data by the Las Vegas-based Desert Research Institute found a correlation between heatwaves and heat-related deaths in southern Nevada, both of which, they say, are on the rise. And a recent Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report warns that without global action to reduce carbon emissions, the city will probably experience 96 days of heat above 100F by the end of the century, including 60 days over 105F, and seven “off the chart” days that would break the current heat index...”
File photo credit: “Ricki McElwee walks with a bag of his ice on his head to cool off, 25 July 2018, in Las Vegas.” Photograph: John Locher/AP.
Worst-Case Phoenix Heat Wave Could Harm Thousands. Alarmist hype? I sure hope so. Tell that to people in France where extreme summer heat this year is linked to at least 1,500 premature deaths. Here’s an excerpt from Vox: “To live in the 21st century is to live with the threat of weather growing more and more wicked. Droughts, heat waves, and wildfires are growing more intense and dangerous from global warming and rising greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, we’re not reckoning with scientists’ predictions that worst-case weather scenarios will be more likely — and common — if we don’t change course. Only 41 percent of the American public believes climate change will affect them personally, a 2018 survey by Yale and George Mason University found. Phoenix, Arizona, is susceptible to a heat wave that could peak at a staggering 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Southern California could face a wildfire that burns 1.5 million acres of land. Tampa, Florida, could see 26 feet of storm surge flooding from a hurricane, just below the record-breaking 28-foot storm surge of Hurricane Katrina…”
Photo credit: “People bathe in the Trocadero Fountain in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris during a heatwave on June 28.” ZAKARIA ABDELKAFI/AFP.