Bemidji Tornado Makes Case for NOAA Weather Radio

According to NOAA, for the first time since 2005, and only the second time on record, no one was killed by tornadoes in the USA in either May or June.

Residents of Bemidji, Minnesota got quite a scare the morning of July 4. A tornado touched down in town at 6:18 AM; 200 yards wide – on the ground for nearly a mile. Winds were estimated at 100 mph.

Which brings up an interesting quandary: how do you get the warning you need to take evasive action when you’re asleep; not paying attention to warnings on TV or radio? Apps on smartphones are part of the solution, but my phone is beeping & vibrating most of the day – not sure a tornado warning beep would stand out from all the other noise.

NOAA Weather Radio is still your best bet. It’s the only device that will set off an alarm if your county is under a tornado warning, day or night. Battery back-up means you’ll always get the alert in time.

Enjoy a flawless Friday and Saturday with 80s and low humidity. T-storms pop up north on Sunday with a metro high near 90F. More 90s arrive by midweek, so enjoy the siesta from the heat!


Photo credit: bemidjipioneer.com.


The Impact a Heat Wave Can Have on your Health and Body. A story at Cambridgeshire Live includes a list of people most susceptible to prolonged heat: “…The health website states that, while a heatwave can affect anyone, the most vulnerable people are:

  • older people, especially those over 75;
  • babies and young children;
  • people with a serious chronic condition, especially heart or breathing problems;
  • people with mobility problems – for example, people with Parkinson’s disease or who have had a stroke;
  • people with serious mental health problems;
  • people on certain medications, including those that affect sweating and temperature control;
  • people who misuse alcohol or drugs...”


Peak Summer is Here. And with the heat comes severe storms and flooding rains – here’s a clip from The Star Tribune: “Douglas predicts the Twin Cities could rack up more 90-degree days than normal through September. The Twin Cities averages about 13 of those days in the summer but Douglas said this summer could see 20 to 25 of those high-heat days. The Twin Cities already has hit 90 degrees nine times this year, he said. “We’ll see two or three more of those days next week,” Douglas said. “Historically, the first and second week of July are the hottest of summer.” Meanwhile, June and early July are usually the wettest. That means Minnesota may start drying out in the next few weeks, Douglas said. “That’s more of a prayer than a prediction,” he said.”



EF-1 Tornado Confirmed. The Grand Forks office of the National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado in the North Woods of Minnesota; estimated winds close to 100 mph. Details here.




More Stadiums Turn to Solar Energy. Because it’s saving them money, because there’s a real ROI. Here’s a clip from Daily Energy Insider: “Professional teams have installed more than 46 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity at 37 arenas or stadiums. Every sports league in the country, including the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball (MLB), NHL, Major League Soccer (MLS), NASCAR and IndyCar uses solar energy. Specifically, one third of the NFL stadiums has solar energy, while about 30 percent of MLB and NBA facilities use it. Overall, nearly 42 million Americans attended an event at a stadium, arena or raceway last year with a solar energy system. “This data is further proof that solar energy is a meaningful contributor to America’s energy portfolio,” SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said...”


Coffee May Boost Longevity. Star Tribune explains why you may want to include java in your diet: “Go ahead and have that cup of coffee, maybe even several more. New research shows it may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily. In a study of nearly half-a-million British adults, coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers. The apparent longevity boost was seen with instant, ground and decaffeinated, results that echo U.S. research. It’s the first large study to suggest a benefit even in people with genetic glitches affecting how their bodies use caffeine. Overall, coffee drinkers were about 10 percent to 15 percent less likely to die than abstainers during a decade of follow-up. Differences by amount of coffee consumed and genetic variations were minimal…”


Is Bezos Holding Seattle Hostage? The Cost of Being Amazon’s Home. A story at The Guardian caught my eye: “…Amazon has remade Seattle in many ways beyond new buildings. The city’s population has surged by about 40% since the company was founded, and nearly 20,000 people a year are moving there, often drawn by the company and its orbit. The tech industry has brought higher-paying jobs, with its average salary about $100,000. But that is twice as much as half the workers in the city earn, and the latter’s spending power is dropping sharply, creating a clear economic divide between some of the city’s population and the new arrivals...”

Photo credit: “Protesters march with a sign depicting Jeff Bezos as a mechanical robot as they walk near Amazon’s annual meeting of shareholders in May.” Photograph: Ted S. Warren/AP.


A Divided America Does Not Mean Another Civil War. Well, that’s vaguely reassuring. Here’s an excerpt from The Observer: “…The reason the Confederate rebellion against the federal government metastasized into a full-fledged civil war was because the standing U.S. Army in 1861 was so small, just 16,000 soldiers who were mostly spread out in garrisons on the Western frontier, that Washington, D.C. lacked the power to put down the rebels quickly. For want of military force and speed, the rebellion spread across the South, with 11 states eventually seceding from the Union. Things are vastly different today. Anybody unwise enough to seriously take up arms against Uncle Sam on home turf would be crushed overnight by the full might of our armed forces, which have 1.3 million men and women on active duty. Unlike in 1861, our states lack their own freestanding militias—despite lip service to state authority, our National Guard is fully integrated into the U.S. military—so there’s no force to even rebel against Washington. The notion that anybody could get even a brigade’s worth of organized troops to rebel against the Feds is an online hothouse fantasy, not political or military reality...” (Graphic credit: Newsonia.)


Gaming Disorder is Only a Symptom of a Much Larger Problem. Check out a story at The Washington Post: “…Nearly all teens, as well as most adults, have been profoundly affected by the increasing predominance of electronic devices in our lives. Many people suspect that today’s teens spend much more time with screens and much less time with their peers face-to-face than did earlier generations, and my analysis of numerous large surveys of teens of various ages shows this to be true: The number of 17- and 18-year-olds who get together with their friends every day, for example, dropped by more than 40 percent between 2000 and 2016. Teens are also sleeping less, with sleep deprivation spiking after 2010...”


The Eye’s Structure Holds Information About the Health of the Mind. Soon an eye-doctor may be able to diagnose your risk of dementia – by looking into your eyes, according to a post at The Economist: “…There is just one tendril of brain tissue that can be seen from outside the body without any mucking about of this sort. That is the retina. Look into someone’s eyes and you are, in some small way, looking at their brain.This being so, a group of researchers at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, working with others around the world, decided to study the structure of the eye for signs of cognitive decline. Changes in the brain, they reasoned, might lead to changes in the nervous tissue connected to it. They focused on a part of the eye called the retinal nerve-fibre layer (RNFL). This is the lowest layer of the retina and serves to link the light-sensitive tissue above to the synapses which lead to the brain. The team’s results, published in JAMA Neurology this week, show that people with a thin RNFL are more likely to fail cognitive tests than those with a thick one. They are also more likely to suffer cognitive decline as they age…”


The Sport World Needs Its #MeToo Moment. So says the author of a story at New York Magazine; here’s an excerpt: “…In the worlds of politics, media, entertainment, restaurants, being accused of sexual misconduct of almost any form has led to an immediate (if hardly fatal) reckoning, with high-profile men losing their jobs, having their ongoing projects canceled, losing sponsors and prominent positions. But in sports, this has not happened. Not only have there been shockingly few stories that have come out about prominent athletes and sports figures behaving awfully or criminally toward women, but when one does come out, the reaction has been decidedly, profoundly different than in other fields…”


U.S. Postal Service Paying Millions for Accidentally Putting a Fake Statue of Liberty on a Stamp. Now there’s fake…stamps? Quartz has the head-shaking story: “The Statue of Liberty is a beloved American symbol. That’s why, in 1996, the New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, commissioned a replica of the iconic lady. Sculptor Robert Davidson gave the classic statue a fresh look, with softer facial features inspired by a photograph of his mother-in-law. And so when the US Postal Service featured the “mighty woman with a torch” on its 2011 Forever stamp, experts knew that the stamp depicted not the original statue, but Davidson’s creation. Now a federal court has ruled that USPS must pay Davidson $3.5 million for its accidental copyright infringement. The June 29 ruling explains that the postal service mistakenly printed and sold stamps with the replica statue’s face on it, having failed to distinguish between the real Lady Liberty and her Las Vegas counterpart…”

Image credit: “Lady Liberty and the US Flag – Forever stamps issued together in 2011.” Reuters/Hyungwon Kang.



FRIDAY: Bright sun, comfortable. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 83

FRIDAY NIGHT: Mostly clear. Low: 63

SATURDAY: Warm sunshine, close to perfect. Winds: S 10-15. High: 86

SUNDAY: More humid, thunder risk north/west MN. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 67. High: near 90

MONDAY: Partly sunny, a bit less humid. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 66. High: 85

TUESDAY: Plenty of sunshine, fine July day. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 65. High: 87

WEDNESDAY: Sunny, windy, stinking hot again. Winds: SW 15-25+ Wake-up: 72. High: 94

THURSDAY: Still sticky, storms possible south. Winds: N 5-10. Wake-up: 70. High: near 90


Climate Stories….

There’s a Crazy Plan to Tow and Iceberg from Antarctica to Fix Cape Town’s Water Crisis. Someone is going to figure this out, and have a significant payday as a result. Quartz explains: “An improbable idea is being floated to solve Cape Town’s water crisis: towing an iceberg from Antarctica over 2,000 kilometers to the South African city. For much of the past year, Day Zero—when Cape Town, a city of 3.7 million will run out of water—has loomed but with restrictions such as two-minute showers and only using 50 liters of water daily, Day Zero has been temporarily postponed without a date. Officials say Day Zero could still happen in 2019. But to prevent that reality, Nick Sloane, a marine salvage expert says towing an iceberg from Antarctica could solve the problem. The ideal iceberg would need to be one kilometer in length, 500 meters across and 250 meters deep with a flat surface. ..”

File photo credit: “A possible solution.” (Reuters/Alexandre Meneghini/File Photo)


Climate Change Not One Heat Wave, But a Pattern of Extremes: Scientist.  A story at Canada’s The Province has some interesting perspective: “A 2017 study in the journal Nature Climate Change found that about one-third of the world’s population already lives somewhere where the daily temperatures are considered lethal more than 20 days a year.Even with drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions in the next 75 years, that number is still expected to grow to 50 per cent of the population — or 75 per cent, including parts of Ontario and Quebec, if nothing is done at all. With limited mitigation, parts of India, Africa and South America would hit lethal temperatures every day of the year. Canadians need to brace themselves for an influx of eco-migrants over the next century, Feltmate warned — people who are fleeing their homelands because they are simply too hot…”


Red-Hot Planet. All-Time Heat Records Have Been Set All Over the World During the Past Week. The Capital Weather Gang has details; here’s an excerpt: “…A massive and intense heat dome has consumed the eastern two-thirds of the United States and southeast Canada since late last week. It’s not only been hot but also exceptionally humid. Here are some of the notable all-time records set:

Image credit: University of Maine Climate Reanalyzer.


Climate Change Explains Brightening of Night-Shining Clouds. A story at UPI.com caught my eye: “…Simulations showed an increase in global methane emissions has increased the amount of water vapor in the mesosphere, encouraging higher rates of ice formation, thus boosting the brightness of noctilucent clouds. The clouds have always been there, scientists say. But as they get brighter, they’re more likely to be seen from Earth’s surface. The clouds only form in the mid to high latitudes during the summertime, when mesospheric temperatures are low enough for ice formation. The clouds only appear during dawn and dusk, when the rising and falling sun illuminate the high-altitude clouds from below...”

Image credit: “Noctilucent clouds are only seen during dawn and dusk, when the rising and setting sun illuminate the ice crystals from below.” Photo by NASA.


Climate Change Brought a Lobster Boom. Now It Could Bring a Bust. The New York Times reports: “…Since the early 1980s, climate change had warmed the Gulf of Maine’s cool waters to the ideal temperature for lobsters, which has helped grow Maine’s fishery fivefold to a half-billion-dollar industry, among the most valuable in the United States. But last year the state’s lobster landings dropped by 22 million pounds, to 111 million. Now, scientists and some fishermen are worried that the waters might eventually warm too much for the lobsters, and are asking how much longer the boom can last…”