Severe Risk Today – Flood Risk Early Next Week?

The old adage, ‘when in a drought – don’t predict rain’, rings true this year. It works the other way around, too. Our remarkably persistent wet rut doesn’t want to quit. Perpetual June.

So far this year 34.47 inches of precipitation has fallen at MSP International Airport, almost exactly 10 inches more than average, to date. Keep in mind an average of 31 inches falls the entire year. At the rate we’re going, gazing at the maps, we should give the all-time record of 40 inches plus in 2016 a run for the

Much of today looks sunny and and warm with a south breeze, a dash of humidity, and a potential for a swarm of strong to severe thunderstorms by late afternoon or evening.

A couple of real cool fronts are shaping up, the first on Wednesday, a stronger push of Canadian air Friday.

Saturday may be the cooler, drier day of the weekend. A deepening storm funnels a rich supply of moisture
northward early next week. ECMWF hints at 2-4 inches of additional rain Sunday into Tuesday. What a pattern.

8-Day Rainfall Totals. I hope ECMWF is wrong – we don’t need 3-5″ of rain anytime soon, but the European model is hinting at a stalled from early next week capable of rainfall extremes. NOAA agrees (see below). Map: WeatherBell.

Chilly Second Week of October? It will be if NOAA’s GFS model (above) verifies, showing a pretty good pop of cold air brewing over central and western Canada. Sweatshirt weather is now within sight.

Nowhere For All the Water to Go. Yes, it’s getting wetter out there over time. That’s not a climate model, that’s measuring rain in a rain gauge (or overflowing lake). Star Tribune reports: “...By some estimates, the cost of these upgrades statewide could run into hundreds of millions of dollars in coming years, an expense that is likely to turn up in higher utility fees for homeowners and businesses. Nationally, the adaptation costs could reach $12 billion in coming decades, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Minnesotans see the evidence all around them: soggy lawns, crumbling curbs, flooded intersections, scoured stream banks. Even geysers erupting in the streets. On the wettest days, stormwater can also wash into sanitary sewers — the pipes that carry sewage and other municipal wastewater to water treatment plants — resulting in emergency discharges of raw or partly treated sewage into Minnesota’s lakes and rivers…”

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Monday, September 23rd, 2019:

  • Tropical Storm Karen is somewhat disorganized this morning, containing sustained winds of 40 mph and moving to the northwest at 8 mph.
  • The system will be moving northward over the next few days, bringing tropical storm impacts to portions of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Tuesday into early Wednesday. This will include strong, gusty winds and heavy rain that could lead to flash flooding, especially in mountainous areas. Tropical Storm Warnings are in place for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with Tropical Storm Watches in place for the British Virgin Islands.
  • By the end of the week, the system will have moved into the southwest Atlantic and meander several hundred miles north of Puerto Rico while gaining strength. Models differ on the eventual track of the system after this point.

Karen As Of Monday Morning. Tropical Storm Karen is a little bit disorganized this morning due to strong winds aloft. As of the 5 AM EDT update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Karen had winds of 40 mph and was moving northwest at 8 mph. The center of Karen was located 180 miles west of St. Vincent.

Karen Track. Karen is expected to remain fairly weak over the next couple days as the system moves to the north and northwest. It is expected to pass near or over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Tuesday, bringing impacts such as stronger winds and heavy rain to the region into Wednesday. After that, it’ll move northward into the southwestern Atlantic, losing a lot of forward momentum by the end of the week. However, during the second half of the week it’ll be in an environment more conducive for development, and by early next weekend Karen could be approaching hurricane strength. Models start to greatly differ on the track of Karen once we get into next week and this will be closely monitored over the next several days.

Tropical Storm Warnings. Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued ahead of Karen for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with impacts expected to reach the islands as we head into Tuesday. Here are where watches and warnings are in place:

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* U.S. Virgin Islands
* Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* British Virgin Islands

Rain Impacts. Karen is expected to bring 2-4” of rain, with isolated 6” amounts, to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands through Wednesday. This could lead to flash flooding, especially in mountainous areas. Due to the heavy rain potential from Karen, Flash Flood Watches are in place from this evening into Wednesday afternoon for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Wind Impacts. The strongest winds are expected across eastern Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where wind gusts of 40-55 mph will be possible. Tropical storm conditions will be possible as early as tonight into Tuesday morning across the region. These stronger winds could cause some damage and power outages.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix.

Imelda’s Immense Rain is Now 7 Times More Likely Than Just 30 Years Ago. CBS News has a story with some perspective; here’s a clip: “…CBS News reached out to Emanuel about the probability of an event the magnitude of Imelda occurring along the Texas East Coast. Emanuel estimates “that for the region affected, this would have been about a once in 700-year event in the late 20th century but has increased to about a 1 in 100-year event today.” What that translates to is a 7-fold increase in the likelihood of an event like Imelda happening in just a few decades. The science on this is rather simple: The atmosphere has warmed around 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s. For every 2 degrees of temperature rise, the atmosphere holds 8% more moisture and thus squeezes out more heavy rain...”

CU Study: Men, Women Handle Disasters Very Differently. It would appear that women have more common sense, something men have suspected for eons. CBS Denver reports: “Results of a new study produced in part by the University of Colorado-Boulder detail distinctions in how the genders respond to natural disasters. Researchers discovered women were quicker to take shelter in advance of, or during, a disaster than men — yet men often ultimately decided the actions that were taken, sometimes to the detriment of the women or their families. “Women seemed to have a different risk perception and desire for protective action than the men in their lives, but men often determined when and what type of action families took,” wrote lead author Melissa Villarreal, a PhD student in CU’s Department of Sociology and research assistant at the Natural Hazards Center. “In some cases, this put women and their families in greater danger...”

Devastated by Dorian: Photos from The Bahamas. The Atlantic has a harrowing, almost surreal photo essay that brings the scope of disaster in full focus: “Two weeks have passed since Hurricane Dorian finally moved away from the Bahamas, after pummeling the island nation for days with sustained winds reaching 185 mph (295 kph). The official death toll has reached 50, but hundreds remain listed as missing, and search-and-rescue teams continue to comb through widespread wreckage. Thousands of residents evacuated in the days following the storm, but many remain on the hard-hit islands of the Abacos and Grand Bahama. Bahamian agencies are working with NGOs, foreign governments, and cruise and travel corporations to provide food, water, and supplies to those still in need. Gathered below, images from the past 10 days across the Bahamas, still reeling from disaster.”

Photo credit: Loren Elliott / Reuters.

The Northern Hemisphere Just Had its Warmest Summer on Record. Capital Weather Gang has the post: “The Northern Hemisphere just had its hottest summer on record since 1880, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data released Monday. NOAA found the average global surface temperature taken by thousands of thermometers, buoys and other sensors on land and sea tied with that of 2016 for the top spot, with a temperature anomaly of 2.03 degrees (1.13 Celsius) above the 20th-century average. In addition, August was the world’s second-hottest such month, according to both NOAA and NASA, with unusually hot conditions seen from pole to pole and across every ocean. What’s remarkable about 2019′s record warmth is that it comes in the absence of a strong El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Such events tend to boost global temperatures by warming the seas and sending more heat into the atmosphere...”

Photo credit: “Children playing in a water fountain in Antwerp, Belgium, in July.” (Virginia Mayo/AP).

Amazon Deal with Michigan Startup Rivian is Biggest EV Order Ever. The Detroit News reports: “Plymouth-based electric vehicle startup company Rivian Automotive has an agreement to fill the largest order of fully electric vehicles in automotive history. The startup is to build 100,000 electric vans for e-commerce giant Inc. over the next decade, Rivian said Thursday. The first batch of vans is expected to hit U.S. roadways by 2021, with 10,000 on the road by late 2022, said Rivian spokeswoman Amy Mast. All 100,000 are to be operating in Amazon’s fleet by 2030...”

Photo credit: “Amazon announced the order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian, the largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles, with vans starting to deliver packages to customers in 2021.” (Photo: Business Wire).

An All-Electric Pickup from GM? A story at CNBC caught my eye: “…GM’s communications director Tony Cervone said he could offer “no details” about the planned battery-electric pickup but, since CNBC first reported that the truck was in development last winter, some specifics have begun to leak out. The new model will go into production in 2021, “most likely” as a 2022 model-year offering, said Sam Fiorani, head of global vehicle forecasting at industry market research firm AutoForecast Solutions. That’s about the same time rival Ford will introduce its own all-electric truck, he said. It’s a full year behind Rivian, the suburban Detroit- based start-up that plans to build its own electric pickup. Tesla has also confirmed plans for an electric pickup, CEO Elon Musk saying earlier this month a production version will “most likely” debut in November...”

Photo credit:

iPhone 11: The Battery Life We’ve Been Dying For. So says a reporter at The Wall Street Journal (paywall). Here’s the intro: “One day, I’ll tell my grandchildren of a time before the iPhone 11. I’ll regale them with stories of portable chargers the size of cinder blocks strapped to the backs of our phones. I’ll tell them how we scoured walls in search of power outlets. I’ll describe the panic that set in when the red empty-battery icon dipped below 5%. In the scheme of iPhone upgrade history, the new iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max sure seem boring. Same designs…but new colors! Cameras…but three of them! Glass…but stronger?! After a week of testing, I can tell you that’s mostly just smoke-and-mirrors marketing, except for one thing many of us have wanted all along: phones that are a bit heavier and thicker—but work when we damn well need them to. Yes, longer battery life...”

Image credit: “From night shooting mode to ultra-wide lenses, Apple’s latest iPhones have a bunch of new camera tricks. WSJ’s Joanna Stern, with the help from the queen and some jousters, put all the new phones to the test at the New York Renaissance Faire.” Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann / The Wall Street Journal.

College Student Works 32 Straight Hours During Texas “Imelda” Flooding. Here’s what makes America great, courtesy of WGN-TV: “When Satchel Smith’s father dropped him off for his shift at Homewood Suites in Beaumont, Texas, he expected the day to be like any other: He’d start at 3 p.m. and leave around 11 p.m. that night. That was until Tropical Storm-turned-Depression Imelda unleashed torrential flooding that trapped him and 90 other guests inside the hotel. For 32 hours, beginning Wednesday afternoon, the 21-year-old was the hotel’s only employee. But to the guests who relied on him for nearly two days, he’s a hero. Angela Chandler, a hotel guest, praised Smith’s composure in a post on Facebook, where it’s been shared more than 13,000 times. While flooded roads kept his co-workers from getting to work, she wrote, Smith served guests alone…”

TUESDAY: Sunny and warm, severe storms late? Winds: SW 8-13. High: near 80

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny with a stiff wind. Winds: NW 15-25. Wake-up: 58. High: 69

THURSDAY: Plenty of sunshine, pleasant. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 50. High: 68

FRIDAY: Gusty, chilly with a few showers. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 49. High: 63

SATURDAY: Cool start, clouds increase. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 47. High: 64

SUNDAY: Showers and thunderstorms develop. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 54. High: 68

MONDAY: Showers taper, partial clearing. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 62. High: 73

Climate Stories….

Here’s the Best Place to Move If You’re Worried About Climate Change. A post at fivethirtyeight caught my eye: “…There are a couple of areas, in the short run, that actually improve,” said David Albouy, professor of economics at the University of Illinois. In 2016, he published a paper that compared the places Americans currently prefer to live with the predicted environmental change under global warming. In doing so, he produced maps of how quality of life might change in various parts of the country. “It’s still a generation away,” he said. But according to his estimates, Northern Minnesota, Seattle, Portland, Ore., and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan could all end up with more moderate temperatures and weather patterns than they currently have. His maps, which include upstate New York and much of New England among the regions improved by climate change, somewhat align with estimates of the safest places to live made by mapping disaster risk alone...”

Image credit: Popular Science.

Minnesota’s Climate is Already Changing. So says the Minnesota DNR; here’s an excerpt: “...Minnesota’s climate is becoming warmer and wetter, and the Department of Natural Resources is taking action to identify climate-related changes, understand the impacts of these changes on the state’s natural resources and recreation, mitigate the impacts as much as possible, and adapt to those impacts that cannot be avoided. These actions range from measuring changes to alerting Minnesotans to the effects of climate change, to planting tree species that will survive better in a warmer climate, to installing renewable energy options, like solar panels, at state parks and DNR buildings…”

Climate Change: Impacts “Accelerating” as Leaders Gather for UN Talks. Here’s a clip from BBC News: “The signs and impacts of global warming are speeding up, the latest science on climate change, published ahead of key UN talks in New York, says. The data, compiled by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), says the five-year period from 2014 to 2019 is the warmest on record. Sea-level rise has accelerated significantly over the same period, as CO2 emissions have hit new highs. The WMO says carbon-cutting efforts have to be intensified immediately. The climate statement is a pull-together of the latest science on the causes and growing impacts of unprecedented levels of warming seen in recent years. Recognising that global temperatures have risen by 1.1 degrees C since 1850, the paper notes they have gone up by 0.2C between 2011 and 2015…”

How to Survive a Flooded World. Rolling Stone has some good advice; here is a snippet: “…I realize for a lot of people, you know, times are hard. But your homeowners policy doesn’t cover you from rising water. And, as we’re going to watch play out in this next flood [created by Imelda], you’re going to have large numbers of people — who were told, or said, they didn’t need flood insurance ‘cause they weren’t in the flood zone — that are going to flood. And that’s going to cause a huge financial impact to them as well as their communities. It is what’s driving the huge cost. This is your largest financial investment, for most of us. And if you don’t have flood insurance, your homeowners policy won’t pay, your mortgage won’t go away, and the FEMA assistance is limited — and it’s probably not going to cover the repairs that will be required even to make it so you can get back to your home...”

File photo: U.S. Coast Guard.

The Surprising Ally in Fighting Global Warming. Here’s a snippet from a post at Daily Beast: “…Senior U.S. military officials have, therefore, continued to identify warming as a significant threat to American national security, despite the official guidance from the White House. “When I look at climate change, it’s in the category of sources of conflict around the world and things we have to respond to,” said General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in November 2018. “Shortages of water, and those kinds of things . . . are all sources of conflict. So, it is very much something that we take into account in our planning as we anticipate when, where and how we may be engaged in the future and what capabilities we should have...”

File image: Wikipedia.

The Rainfall in Texas is Changing and Here is Proof. Dr. Marshall Shepherd reports at Forbes: “…According to NOAA, the updated values will replace values dating back 50 years. The rainstorms of 2019 are very different than rainstorms of 1965. Peer review literature has established that the top 1-2% rainfall events are more intense than 50 years ago. Additionally, studies suggests that stalling tropical storms like Imelda and Harvey may be more common. Much of the stormwater management infrastructure in municipalities is designed for the storms of last century. According to a University of Georgia press release, Bledsoe argues for “investments in hybrid systems of traditional “gray” and natural “green” infrastructure that work together along with nonstructural measures such as insurance reform, zoning, buyout and relocation to improve outcomes across a wide range of future extreme weather scenarios...”

Map credit: “Updated rainfall values in inches that define certain extreme events, such as the 100-year storm.” NOAA.

The Climate Hunters. Reuters examines 3 scientists trying to get a handle on methane releases in the Arctic. Here’s an excerpt: “…When the United Nations hosts a summit in New York on Monday to try to shore up the 2015 Paris Agreement to curb global warming, calls to cut emissions will focus on a more familiar greenhouse gas – the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels. But methane, another carbon-based compound, is emerging as a wild card in the climate-change equation. If CO2 has a warming effect akin to wrapping the planet in a sheet, the less-understood methane is more like a wool blanket. Emitted from sources such as thawing permafrost, tropical wetlands, livestock, landfills and the spidery exoskeleton of oil and gas infrastructure girdling the planet, methane has been responsible for about a quarter of manmade global warming thus far, some models calculate…”

What We’ve Learned From Our Week of Climate Coverage. Columbia Journalism Review reports: “…This spring, CJR and The Nation co-founded Covering Climate Now, an unprecedented journalistic collaboration aimed at strengthening news coverage of the defining story of our time. The project was embraced immediately by The Guardian, which became our lead media partner, and has since grown enormously: more than 300 news outlets from around the world—with a combined audience of more than 1 billion people—are now part of Covering Climate Now. More are joining by the day.  Each of these outlets—big and small, TV and radio, print and digital—committed to running a week of strong coverage in the lead-up to the UN climate summit, and they have delivered…”

Huge Turnout For Climate Strike: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Millions of young people in more than 130 countries took to the streets Friday to protest for increased action on climate change, with many skipping school to join the action. Organizers say that around four million people worldwide took part in actions on Friday, and estimate 250,000 marched in New York City, 270,000 in Berlin, 100,000 in London and 100,000 in Melbourne. An estimated 1.7 million people joined in the first global strike, held in March. “This is the biggest climate strike ever in history and we all should be so proud of ourselves because we have done this together,” Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg, who began striking alone in front of Swedish parliament last year, told the crowd in New York.” (Worldwide strikes: CBS, NPR, CNN, TimeWSJ $, NBC, USA Today, APVoxAl Jazeera. Local strikes: see links below. Signs & photos: Teen Vogue, People, The Guardian. Marcher interviews: Democracy Now)

The New Face of Climate Activism is Young, Angry – and Effective. Here’s a clip from Vox: “…Their methods are straight out of the playbook of the civil rights movement of the 1960s: Frequently, they sing protest songs. They stand quietly as police officers zip-tie their hands behind their backs and lead them into vans for civil disobedience. Their eyes pleading, they carry signs, including ones that say, “The Youth are Coming for You.” The new face of climate resistance is young and diverse. It is scared, and it is loud. In a short amount of time, the Sunrise Movement’s assertive tactics have brought about a profound change, forcing climate change and the Green New Deal — their vision to solve it — to become defining issues of the 2020 election…”

Climate Models Predict Bigger Heat Rise Ahead. Are we underestimating the degree of warming already in the pipeline? Here’s a clip from Climate News Network: “Greenhouse gases are raising the Earth’s temperature faster than previously thought, according to new climate models due to replace those used in current UN projections − meaning a bigger heat rise by 2100 than thought likely. Separate models at two French research centres suggest that by then average global temperatures could have risen by 6.5 to 7.0°C above pre-industrial levels if carbon emissions continue at their present rate, the website reports. Scientists − and most of the world’s governments − finalised the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015, undertaking to keep the warming increase to a maximum of 2°C, and if possible to only 1.5°C…”

Photo credit: “It’s hot now – and it’s going to get much hotter.Image: By Ankit Gupta on Unsplash