Tornadoes Are Rare – And Maddeningly Random
”I never thought it would happen here.” The odds of being personally impacted by a tornado are the rough statistical equivalent of being struck by lightning, or winning the Lotto.
Twister are fickle and random. Unlike hurricanes, there is no evidence (yet) that a warming world is creating more numerous or violent tornadoes. But with urban sprawl there are more potential targets and victims. What was farmland 40 years ago is now subdivisions.
Doppler radar coupled with Skywarn spotters and law enforcement/emergency management are keeping us safer than we were a generation ago, but there will always be low-grade weather risk, no matter how good the technology.
My Boy Scout motto rings true. Be Prepared.
The Twin Cities National Weather Service has issued 228 warnings to date, the most since records started in 1986. It will be too cool and dry for blaring sirens into next week. Rain is likely Saturday but we salvage lukewarm sun on Sunday.
Models hint at 80s, maybe 90F by mid-June. Can we just get a warm front without tornadoes, please?
Memorial Day Minnesota Tornado Count Up to 8. KARE-11.com has an update: “…Two days after a massive, destructive line of storm cells tore through western Minnesota, the National Weather Service (NWS) is still working to determine how many tornadoes touched down across the state. As of Wednesday afternoon, at least eight tornadoes have been confirmed. The small lakeside community of Forada, just south of Alexandria, was hit especially hard. Multiple buildings and homes along Maple Lake were severely damaged or leveled, boats were tossed onto the shore and trees and power lines were pulled down. On Tuesday, the NWS confirmed an EF-2 hit Forada, with max winds of 120 mph.
May 30 Severe Weather Summary. The Twin Cities National Weather Service has details on each confirmed tornado here.
Additional Details on Each Memorial Day Tornado. Here is a more granular (preliminary) analysis of every confirmed tornado that struck Minnesota on Monday.
Saturday Puddles – Searching for a Warm Front. Temperatures run 5-10F cooler than average into much of next week; too cool for any severe weather outbreaks, if that’s any consolation. The best chance of rain comes Saturday, but skies may brighten or clear partially by Saturday evening. Sunday still looks like the nicer day.
Cool Bias Into Mid-June? The latest long-range (2 week) upper air forecast still looks considerably cooler than normal for much of the northern tier of the US, although the most latest guidance suggests a rerun of 80s by mid-month. Stay tuned.
Praedictix Briefing: Issued Thursday, June 2nd, 2022
- Key Points:A broad area of low pressure over the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula has a high chance of becoming the first Atlantic tropical depression and even tropical storm (with the name of Alex) over the next day or two before reaching Florida early this weekend.
- The greatest risk from this system will be heavy rain from the Yucatan Peninsula to western Cuba, southern Florida and the Keys, and the Bahamas through the weekend – whether this disturbance becomes a named tropical system or not. A few tornadoes will also be possible in southern Florida Saturday.
- The National Hurricane Center notes that tropical storm watches or warnings could be required for portions of Cuba and southern Florida and the Keys later today.
High Chance Of Tropical Formation. We continue to watch a broad area of low pressure located over the northeastern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula with disorganized showers and thunderstorms. This system is still likely to become a tropical depression or tropical storm over the next day or two as it moves northeastward across the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, despite atmospheric conditions not exactly being the most conducive for development. The good news behind that is, even if it does form, those atmospheric conditions would limit the intensity of this system. There is a high chance of formation (80%) within the next two days. The National Hurricane Center notes that, based off current projections, tropical storm watches or warnings could be required for portions of Cuba and southern Florida and the Keys later today.
Tracking Toward Southern Florida. Models continue to come into better agreement that a weaker-end area of low pressure will form and track toward portions of the southern Florida Peninsula as we head through the next couple of days, making landfall sometime Saturday. Despite it being a weak system, it will bring a lot of tropical moisture along with it across southern Florida/the Keys and portions of Cuba and the Bahamas. That means we are expecting heavy rain and even the potential of flooding over the next several days. Note that due to the aforementioned atmospheric conditions that will likely help limit strengthening, this system will also likely be somewhat lopsided, with most of that rain and even gusty wind potential located east and southeast of the main center of circulation.
Very Heavy Rain. The greatest threat from this system across portions of Florida will be heavy rain from Friday into Saturday. 48-hour rainfall totals across portions of southern Florida could be upwards of 4-8” (with isolated higher totals) due to deep tropical moisture that will be pushed into the region due to this tropical entity. Most of this will clear southern Florida by early Sunday morning.
Excessive Rain Outlook Friday. Some of the heaviest rain will fall on Friday across southern Florida into the Florida Keys, with at least 1-6” of the precipitation expected to fall across this time period. That’s partly due to the area of low pressure moving over the region on Saturday and a lot of the precipitation on the eastern side of the system. Soils are already saturated across the region due to recent heavy rains, so flooding could occur. There is a Moderate risk of excessive rain that could lead to flash flooding Friday into Friday Night across the region.
Severe Threat Saturday. There will also be the threat of a few tornadoes across southern Florida and the Keys on Saturday as this potential tropical system moves across the region, as well as gusty winds.
D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix
States Impacted: FL, Mexico, Cuba, Bahamas
Record Number of Minnesota Severe Storm and Tornado Warnings, To Date. It’s not your imagination, after a few relatively quiet years sirens have been sounding far more than average, in fact we’ve set a record as of May 31. Fox9.com has the post; here’s an excerpt: “…Well, so far this year, the National Weather Service office in the Twin Cities has issued a combined total of 228 warnings through May 31. That is by far the most warnings issued by the office to this point in the season since these records began getting tracked in 1986. While there isn’t a direct correlation between the number of warnings issued and how much damage occurred because of the severe storms, it does paint a pretty stark picture of just how volatile the atmosphere has been so far this year...”
NWS Confirms That Long-Track Tornado Ripped Through Minnesota. Bring Me The News has details: “The National Weather Service has confirmed numerous tornadoes from the Memorial Day severe weather outbreak in Minnesota, including a long-track twister that carved a path through at least four counties – and it’s possible that it was the same twister that caused severe damage in the small town of Forada. No town was hit harder than Forada. The small community of 160 residents, nestled on the northeast shore of Maple Lake and about five miles south of Alexandria, was pounded by maximum swirling winds of 120 mph, making it an EF2 tornado. According to the NWS, there was evidence of the tornado being a half-mile wide with multiple vortices. The Storm Prediction Center defines multiple-vortex tornadoes as a tornado containing smaller, rapidly spinning subvortices that can add over 100 mph to the ground-relative wind in a tornado circulation…”
NOAA Forecasts Summer “Dead Zone” of Nearly 5.4K Square Miles in Gulf of Mexico. NOAA has the details here: “NOAA is forecasting a summer “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico that will be approximately 5,364 square miles, making it about average for the 35-year history of the summertime dead zone measurements in the region. The forecast is lower than last year’s measured size and slightly lower than the five-year average measured size of 5,380 square miles. The dead zone, or hypoxic area, is an area of low oxygen that can kill fish and other marine life. It occurs every summer and is primarily a result of excess nutrient pollution from human activities in cities and farm areas throughout the Mississippi River watershed…”
Tesla Has Real Competition. Check out the video from CNN Business News: “Lucid Motors won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award with its first ever vehicle, the Lucid Air. CNN’s Peter Valdes-Dapena explains why this 1000-horse power electric vehicle should have Tesla scared…”
New Chevy Bolt Will Be The Cheapest Electric Vehicle in the US. CNN.com has details: “General Motors announced Wednesday that it’s cut the price of the most affordable Chevrolet Bolt to $26,595, making it the cheapest electric vehicle in the US. The Bolt’s new price slightly undercuts the electric Nissan Leaf, which has a suggested retail price of $27,400. The Bolt’s price has fallen 27% from the 2020 model, which it sold for $36,620. GM’s electric vehicle push has been hampered by a recall of Bolt batteries, which led to supplier LG paying it $1.9 billion last year. A series of fires triggered the recall, which was among the most expensive ever on a per-vehicle basis…”
Finding Nearby Breweries. Finally, something useful on the interwebs, courtesy of BeerBase.
Next Life I’m Coming Back as a Lifeguard. Or more specifically, a Los Angeles lifeguard. OpenTheBooks Substack has the crazy details: “…Who knew that LA lifeguards—who work in the sun, ocean surf, and golden sands of California— could reap such unbelievable financial reward? It’s time we put Baywatch on pay watch. In 2019, we found top-paid lifeguards made up to $392,000. Unfortunately, today, the pay and benefits are even more lucrative. Daniel Douglas was the most highly paid and earned $510,283, an increase from $442,712 in 2020. As the “lifeguard captain,” he out-earned 1,000 of his peers: salary ($150,054), perks ($28,661), benefits ($85,508), and a whopping $246,060 in overtime pay…”
Best Beaches in the USA? It’s subjective, of course, but Dr. Beach weighs in here: “...Scientist Stephen Leatherman, also known as “Dr. Beach,” has released his 2022 list of the top U.S. beaches. Dr. Leatherman is a professor and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. He has been ranking America’s best beaches since 1991. According to CNN, Leatherman uses 50 criteria in evaluating 650 public beaches. He examines sand softness, water temperature and clarity, beach width, and even wildlife. A few beaches in the Carolinas, including this year’s top pick, check off a lot of boxes...”
0” Current MSP snow depth.
79 F. Thursday high in the Twin Cities.
75 F. MSP average high on June 2.
84 F. MSP high on June 2, 2021.
June 3, 1955: Seven people are killed on Lake Traverse when their boat is overturned by strong winds from a thunderstorm.
FRIDAY: Sunny, breezy and pleasant. Winds: NW 8-13. High: near 70
SATURDAY: Rain likely. Brightening skies late? Winds: E 10-15. Wake-up: 53. High: 64
SUNDAY: Partly sunny and mild. Winds: W 3-8. Wake-up: 50. High: 73
MONDAY: Some sun, a cooler breeze. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 50. High: 68
TUESDAY: Clouds increase, PM showers. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 52. High: 67
WEDNESDAY: A few showers. Still cool for June. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 53. High: 65
THURSDAY: Partly sunny and nicer. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 54. High: 73
Current Policies Will Bring “Catastrophic” Climate Breakdown, Warn Former UN Leaders. The Guardian reports: “The policies currently in place to tackle the climate crisis around the world will lead to “catastrophic” climate breakdown, as governments have failed to take the actions needed to fulfill their promises, three former UN climate leaders have warned. There is a stark gap between what governments have promised to do to protect the climate, and the measures and policies needed to achieve the targets. At the Cop26 summit last November, countries agreed to bring forward plans to limit global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – the limit of safety, according to scientists. They have so far submitted pledges that would limit temperatures to under 2C. But the policies and measures passed and implemented by governments would lead to far greater temperature rises, of at least 2.7C, well beyond the threshold of relative safety, and potentially as much as 3.6C...”
Ford and GM are Going All In on Electric Cars, and Thousands of Jobs Hang in the Balance. A post at Fortune caught my eye; here’s an excerpt: “…But the trickiest remaking is one of human resources—as the electric transition ripples through an automotive industry that employs 290,000 people in Michigan. What most people in Detroit acknowledge, but few like to discuss, is that even a successful transition means fewer traditional jobs in the auto industry. The forces driving the change are twofold: Battery packs have fewer parts than internal combustion engines (ICEs)—so EVs require about 30% fewer hours of labor on the assembly line. As Farley puts it, “The manufacturing jobs are going to go from making oily things to digital things.” At the same time, the electrified powertrains of EVs require electrical engineers, software developers, and all manner of technicians. And the increasingly complex software systems that EVs rely on will need their own cadres of programmers, researchers, and designers. The industry’s center of gravity, in short, is shifting from the assembly line to the computer workbench…”
Russia’s War Created a Global Hunger Disaster. Climate Change is Ramping It Up. As is often the case it’s a convergence of factors resulting in food shortages (and inflation). Mother Jones has the story: “Back in February, Russia invaded Ukraine, turning Europe’s main wheat-growing region—a key source of grain and cooking oil for the Middle East and Africa—into a war zone. Global food prices had already been rising steadily for a year, pushed up by supply chain snarls brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The war sent them soaring anew, to the highest levels since 1961, when the United Nations began tracking. On top of this, global public-health authorities warn that weather extremes related to climate change are wilting crops and shrinking harvests in alarming ways—setting the stage for what could be the worst hunger crisis in generations…”
The Language of Water. Increasingly, much of the world isn’t taking a sustainable source of fresh water for granted. Atmos has a fascinating post; here’s the intro: “Indigenous people across their world carry their own knowledge systems that inform their science. The Western scientific community is finally beginning to recognize the value of Indigenous knowledge—especially in the midst of the climate crisis. However, a group of researchers in Mexico have initiated a two-way transfer of science in an attempt to translate different scientific material into Indigenous languages. Topics that have already been translated include astrophysics and nanotechnology. The current project focuses on the Earth’s water cycle. Throughout these efforts, many Indigenous communities also offer their own scientific lessons to researchers…”
The Heat is On. Climate Central looks at the trends: “Climate Central looked at 52 years (1970-2021) of summer temperature data in 246 U.S. locations, and found that:
- Average summer temperatures are rising. 96% (235) of the locations analyzed had an increase in average summer temperature. 53% (126 of 235) of those locations warmed by 2°F or more.
- Summer warming was greatest in the western and southwestern U.S. The three greatest increases in summer average temperatures since 1970 were in Reno, Nev. (10.9°F), Las Vegas, Nev. (5.8°F), and Boise, Idaho (5.6°F).
- More summer days above normal. Since 1970, 81% (200) of locations had 7 or more days above their 1991-2020 summer normal temperature. And 37 locations had 30 or more summer days above normal...”
Network of Wildfire Cameras is Expanding. Popular Science reports: “Across the Western United States, there’s a network of cameras streaming images of mountain peaks, coastal communities, quiet suburbs, and thick forests, revealing dramatic sunrises and the occasional wildlife encounter. The 24/7 feeds are free and accessible online, provided with the hope that the public will not only tune in but also look out for signs of smoke or a spark, potentially helping alert authorities about blazes before they pose a threat to communities. Over the past decade, this ALERTWildfire network has grown from a few cameras around Lake Tahoe to about 1,000 in seven states, as well as some in Australia. The goal is to provide officials with an easily-accessible source of intel in fire-prone areas, often offering a multi-angle view of wildfires and, as of recently, utilizing AI to act as an additional analysis tool…”
Climate Research: Ultra-fine Dust Might Cause Weather Extremes. Here’s an excerpt of a post at Newswise.com: “Strong precipitation or extreme drought – the frequency of extreme weather events is increasing worldwide. Existing climate models, however, do not adequately show their dynamics. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) assume that ultrafine particles in the atmosphere have a significant impact on cloud physics and, hence, on weather. Their aircraft measurements confirm an increase in particle number emissions in spite of a decreasing coarse fine dust concentration and blame it to the combustion of fossil fuels in exhaust gas cleaning systems. Their results can be found in Scientific Reports: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-11500-5. According to latest reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC for short, weather extremes, such as droughts and strong precipitation, will increase in future…”
“In the Crosshairs”: Department of Navy Releases Climate Change Strategy. NavyTimes.com explains why the US Navy is concerned about a rapidly changing climate: “The Department of the Navy this week released its strategy for how it will deal with climate change and proceed toward the government’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. “Climate change is one of the most destabilizing forces of our time, exacerbating other national security concerns and posing serious readiness challenges,” Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said in the introduction to the 32-page report. “Our naval and amphibious forces are in the crosshairs of the climate crisis and this strategy provides the framework to empower us to meaningfully reduce the threat of climate change.” Setting the department on a course to combat climate change is a main priority of Del Toro’s tenure. He called the issue “existential” for the Navy and Marine Corps...”
Bottling the Sun. Are we any closer to clean, abundant fusion energy? CNN.com takes a deep dive: “From a small hill in the southern French region of Provence, you can see two suns. One has been blazing for four-and-a-half billion years and is setting. The other is being built by thousands of human minds and hands, and is — far more slowly — rising. The last of the real sun’s evening rays cast a magical glow over the other — an enormous construction site that could solve the biggest existential crisis in human history. It is here, in the tiny commune of Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, that 35 countries have come together to try and master nuclear fusion, a process that occurs naturally in the sun — and all stars — but is painfully difficult to replicate on Earth. Fusion promises a virtually limitless form of energy that, unlike fossil fuels, emits zero greenhouse gases and, unlike the nuclear fission power used today, produces no long-life radioactive waste. Mastering it could literally save humanity from climate change, a crisis of our own making…”