An Unpredictable October Looks Unusually Wet

“October was always the least dependable of months…full of ghosts and shadows” wrote Joy Fielding. I tend to agree, certainly from a meteorological perspective.

October can bring tornadoes and blizzards, floods and drought, single digit lows or highs in the 80s. Sometimes all in the same week!

This may be a manic month, but a brewing El Nino should still tip the scales in favor of a mild bias into the winter months. That doesn’t mean we won’t have snow and cold. We will – but the odds of another 78-inch winter in the Twin Cities is probably low.

Frost-free weather may linger in the immediate Twin Cities metro another 2 weeks. No blasts of November chill are imminent. Quite the contrary.

A sluggish pattern, coupled with a persistent flow of southern moisture will fuel repeated waves of rain: one tonight – another Sunday PM into Monday – an even heavier rain event by the middle of next week. ECMWF guidance suggests 3-5 inches of additional rain over the next week.

The maps tend to resemble May, not October. Keep a sturdy umbrella handy – and plan on singing in the rain.


Photo credit from Grand Marais, Minnesota: Praedictix meteorologist D.J. Kayser.


October Soaker. ECMWF model guidance shows some 3-5″ rainfall amounts by Thursday of next week, with the heaviest rains probably coming Monday through Wednesday. Just what we need. Map: WeatherBell.


Some Moderation by Mid-October? Don’t hold your breath (yet) but GFS guidance shows weak ridging over the central USA as the chilliest air lifts northward into Canada. We’ll probably see more 60s, even a few more 70s before winter really arrives.

El Nino Likely to Boost High-Tide Flood Days Along East Coast in 2018. NOAA’s climate.gov has the story; here’s an excerpt: “High-tide flooding—sometimes called nuisance flooding—washes into U.S. coastal communities every year, disrupting storm- and wastewater systems, damaging roads and infrastructure, and straining city budgets. Thanks to NOAA scientists, the seasonal risk of these events doesn’t have to come as a surprise. This year’s outlook predicts an above-average number of high-tide flooding days from May 2018-April 2019 for spots on both coasts. Overall, high tide flood frequencies are predicted to be 60% higher this year across U.S. coastlines compared to the year 2000. This interactive map shows the predicted number of high tide flooding days for almost 100 locations, represented by colored dots, along the East and West Coast of the United States, the Caribbean, and Pacific Ocean. Blue colors represent a higher number of predicted flood days while green-yellow colors represent a lesser amount...”


NOAA Updates Texas Rainfall Frequency Values. Hurricane Harvey (and other recent major flooding events) have forced a recalculation of return rates of 100-year and 500-year floods. Here’s an excerpt from NOAA: “A NOAA analysis released today finds significantly higher rainfall frequency values in parts of Texas, redefining the amount of rainfall it takes to qualify as a 100-year or 1000-year event. The study, published as NOAA Atlas 14, Volume 11 Precipitation-Frequency Atlas of the United States, Texas, found increased values in parts of Texas, including larger cities such as Austin and Houston, that will result in changes to the rainfall amounts that define 100-year events, which are those that on average occur every 100 years or have a one percent chance of happening in any given year. In Austin, for example, 100-year rainfall amounts for 24 hours increased as much as three inches up to 13 inches. 100-year estimates around Houston increased from 13 inches to 18 inches and values previously classified as 100-year events are now much more frequent 25-year events…”

Map credit: “Graphic of Texas shows the updated rainfall values in inches that define certain extreme events, such as the 100-year storm.” (NOAA)


What is a 100-Year Flood? For much of southern Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro, a 7″ rainfall in 24 hours can be expected to occur once every 100 years.


16 Confirmed Tornadoes on September 20. The local Twin Cities office of The National Weather Service has an update: “A line of severe thunderstorms moved through southern Minnesota and into west central Wisconsin during the late afternoon and early evening of Thursday, September 20, 2018. Prior to the development of severe storms, numerous showers and thunderstorms affected much of central and southern Minnesota during the morning and early- to mid-afternoon. This activity developed well north of a warm front, which was located over northern Iowa at the time. The warm front quickly surged north during the mid- to late-afternoon as a strengthening low pressure system moved northeast from Nebraska toward southern Minnesota. Scattered non-severe thunderstorms continued to develop north of the warm front as a broken line of strong to severe storms developed from the low pressure system southward ahead of the attendant cold front. These storms raced northeast at up to 70 mph, and moved across southern Minnesota and into west central Wisconsin from around 430 PM through 8 PM. Widespread severe weather occurred with these storms…”


More Persistent Weather Patterns In U.S. Linked to Arctic Warming. Is the weather getting “stuck” with increasing frequency? Here’s an excerpt from Phys.org: “…Scientists at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and the University of Wisconsin-Madison examined daily precipitation data at 17 stations across the U.S., along with large upper-level circulation patterns over the eastern Pacific Ocean and North America. Overall, dry and wet spells lasting four or more days occurred more frequently in recent decades, according to the study published online today in Geophysical Research Letters. The frequency of persistent large-scale circulation patterns over North America also increased when the Arctic was abnormally warm. In recent decades, the Arctic has been warming at least twice as fast as the global average temperature, the study notes. The persistence of warm Arctic patterns has also increased, suggesting that long-duration weather conditions will occur more often as rapid Arctic warming continues, said lead author Jennifer Francis, a research professor in Rutgers’ Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences. “While we cannot say for sure that Arctic warming is the cause, we found that large-scale patterns with Arctic warming are becoming more frequent, and the frequency of long-duration weather conditions increases most for those patterns,” said Francis, who works in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences…”

Image credit: “Land surface temperatures from December 26, 2017 to January 2, 2018, compared with the 2001 to 2010 average for the same eight-day period. The persistent warm West and cold East pattern that was so prevalent last winter caused a western drought that led to summer fires, a prolonged cold spell in much of the East and a parade of nor’easters along the East Coast.” Credit: NASA Earth Observatory.



Winner Takes it All: How Markets Favor the Few at the Expense of the Many. A story at Farnam Street is a worthy read; here’s an excerpt: “…A winner-take-all market doesn’t mean there is only one company in the market. Rather, when we say a winner takes all, what we mean is that a single company is able to control the market. In most cases, they receive the majority of available profits or dictate the nature of competition. The other companies are left with a modest share of the profits and little to no influence. The winner doesn’t want these companies to disappear, because they provide the illusion of competition. In reality, however, they don’t pose a credible threat. In a winner-take-all market, the winners have tremendous power to dictate outcomes. Winner-take-all markets occur in many different areas. We can apply the concept to all situations which involve unequal distributions...”


.61″ rain fell at MSP International Airport yesterday.

79 F. high temperature yesterday at MSP.

70 F. peak dew point temperature recorded on Wednesday.

64 F. average high on October 3.

72 F. high on October 3, 2017.

October 4, 2005: Widespread heavy rain falls in Minnesota. 4.61 inches of rain falls in the Minneapolis area, 3.42 inches is recorded in St. Cloud, 2.28 inches in Redwood Falls, 2.98 inches in New London, and 3.23 inches in Buffalo.

October 4, 1939: A storm dumps 2.16 inches of rain at Fairmont.

October 4, 1922: A record high of 89 is set in Minneapolis.


Read more here: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article218934685.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article218934685.html#storylink=cpy

THURSDAY: Early sun, PM showers. Winds: NE 7-12. High: 51

THURSDAY NIGHT: Rain, possibly heavy at times. Low: 44

FRIDAY: Unsettled. A few showers/sprinkles. Winds: E 8-13. High: 53

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, nicer day of weekend? Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 42. HIgh: 57

SUNDAY: Dry start, showers return late PM. Winds: E 8-13. Wake-up: 41. High: 56

MONDAY: Steadier, heavier rain. Few T-storms. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 48. High: 67

TUESDAY: Rain lingers, cool and raw. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 45. High: 52

WEDNESDAY: Heavier rain, T-storms possible. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 47. High: 58


Climate Stories…

Climate Change is Forcing the Insurance Industry to Recalculate. At some point fairly soon you won’t be able to buy insurance (at any price) in highly vulnerable areas prone to repeated flooding. Here’s a clip from a Wall Street Journal article that is a must-read: “…The price of homes on the U.S.’s eastern seaboard battered by fiercer storms and higher seas is lagging behind those inland. The price of farmland is rising in North America’s once-frigid reaches, partly because of bets it will become more temperate. Investors are turning fresh water into an asset, a wager in part that climate change will make it scarcer. Insurers are at the forefront of calculating the impact. “We don’t discuss the question anymore of, ‘Is there climate change,’” says Torsten Jeworrek, chief executive for reinsurance at Munich Re, the world’s largest seller of reinsurance—insurance for insurers. “For us, it’s a question now for our own underwriting...”


The U.S. Would Suffer Some of the Biggest Costs of Climate Change. Ars Technica reports on new research findings: “Climate change is a classic tragedy of the commons: every country acting in its own self-interest contributes to depleting a joint resource, making the world worse for everyone. If you’ve ever lived with bad roommates, the concept will be easy to grasp. The social cost of carbon (or SCC) is a way to put a price tag on the result of that tragedy, quantifying just how much climate change will cost the world over the coming generations. But a paper in Nature Climate Change this week tries to bring the cost closer to home by estimating what the SCC could be for each different country. These new calculations point to a wide range of different cost possibilities but with a few consistent messages: the cost is likely to be higher than previous estimates; the US will be one of the worst-hit countries; and many of the countries contributing the least to the problem will be slammed regardless…”

Image credit: “Hurricane Florence the morning of Sept. 12 as it churned across the Atlantic in a west-northwesterly direction with winds of 130 miles an hour.” NASA/Johnson.


Footing the Bill for Climate Change: “By the End of the Day, Someone Has to Pay”. NPR has perspective with a few eye-popping statistics: “…Munich Re has laid out the challenges of a changing climate. As one of the world’s largest reinsurers, the company insures other insurers in cases of catastrophe, so it has good reason to keep track of catastrophes such as Florence. It has been doing so for nearly four decades. “When I look back to the 1980s, we recorded 200 to 300 events — catastrophe events — annually, and today we are close to about 1,000 events,” says Munich Re’s chief climatologist, Ernst Rauch, who has been doing this research for the reinsurer for 30 years. That means a lot of losses that insurers must be prepared to cover. Last year alone, it meant roughly $135 billion in insured losses — including a record amount in California, where wildfires drove nearly $12 billion in insurance claims in just a three-month span…”

Photo credit: “A North Carolina resident sits on his staircase earlier this week, staring into the water that surrounded his home after Florence hit Emerald Isle, N.C.” Tom Copeland/AP.


Bob Ingliss, a Republican Believer in Climate Change, Is Out to Convert His Party. As an aside, when people ask me if I “believe in climate change” I tell them the truth: I acknowledge the data and test the science.” This isn’t about belief, it’s about being true to a large and growing body of science. Here’s a clip from NBC News: “…University of Connecticut researchers found this spring that Republicans — not Democrats or even climate scientists — were more effective in persuading doubters to give up their climate change skepticism. Republicans might be perceived as more believable on the issue, because they are willing to take a political risk, the authors said. A small but increasingly active group of conservative and libertarian organizations has seized this opportunity. Roughly a dozen national groups have rallied around proposals to fight global warming, including the conservative R Street think tank, free market-oriented Niskanen Center and the Evangelical Environmental Network...”

Photo credit: “Bob Inglis urges cadets at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, to work with those who have opposing political views, on Aug. 28, 2018.” Shako Liu / NBC News.


Faith Leaders Want a Moral Voice to Tackle Climate Change. A story at Deseret News caught my eye: “…Many clergy members have already chosen to present global warming as an ethical crisis, including Pope Francis of the Catholic Church in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’, and Patriarch Bartholomew, who leads Eastern Orthodox Christians. This approach helps cut through political divides, uniting conservatives and liberals around a desire to care for God’s creation, as the Deseret News reported in 2014. Faith leaders need to be even more forceful with their ethical messages moving forward, especially when meeting with people in power, Rabbi Bergman said. “It’s better for us to charge in and have somebody say no than to stay sitting down and wait for an invitation,” he said…”

Photo credit: “An aerial photo shows the Kansai International Airport covered with water due to the typhoon Jebi in Osaka Prefecture on Sep.4, 2018. Powerful typhoon made a landfall on Tokushima Prefecture in noon and expected to proceed to the Sea of Japan. Violent winds, high waves and heavy rains are forecasted in wide area of Japan till next day.” Yasufumi Nagao, AP.