More Scorching Heat (heavy rains from “Debby” ease across northern Florida) Jun 27, 2012

Heat Spike. Heat Advisories are posted for much of America’s midsection, an Excessive Heat Watch for Kansas City and eastern Iowa/northwestern Illinois. Air Stagnation Advisories (gray) are posted from Dallas to Atlanta to Little Rock and Knoxville. Latest watches and warnings from NOAA here.

105 F. at Denver Tuesday. That’s two days in a row of 105 degree heat, both days tying the all-time record for hottest weather ever recorded in The Mile High City.

111 F. high at Miles City, Montana Tuesday – hottest temperature on record.

101 F. high at Colorado Springs Tuesday, the hottest temperature ever recorded. Previous record:

Major Evacuations In Colorado Springs. As of 10 pm Tuesday evening an estimated 30,000 residents of Colorado Springs had been evacuated in advance of raging wildfires. KKTV-TV has live coverage of this major breaking news story here.

Kids, Pets & Hot Cars = Tragedy. Here is an excerpt of a very timely story from Chuck Mai at in Oklahoma, where locals are accustomed to 100-degree heat (unlike Minnesotans): “It’s important to remember that temperatures inside a car on a day with outside temperatures in the mid-to-high 90’s can quickly soar to nearly 200 degrees, which is hot enough to cook many foods and to kill most living things. Never leave children or pets in a parked car. If you do see a child or pet locked in a car and cannot find the owner of the vehicle, call 911 immediately.

Child passenger summer safety tips:

•   Never leave a child alone in a car – even with the windows partially opened– as a vehicle’s interior can still heat up quickly to deadly temperatures.

•   Make a habit of looking in the vehicle – front and back – before locking the door and walking away. Children have died because they fell asleep in their car seats and their parents didn’t realize they were still in the car.

•   If your spouse or a guardian is taking your children to day care, ask him or her to call you to make sure the drop-off went according to plan

Air Pollution Health Advisory. Here’s the latest from MPCA: “The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air pollution health advisory due to forecasted increases in ozone pollution for the Twin Cities metropolitan area and Rochester effective from noon until midnight on Wednesday, June 27.

At-Risk Populations: Ozone is expected to near a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Those sensitive to ozone include people with preexisting respiratory conditions, the elderly, children, and individuals who participate in outdoor activities requiring extended or heavy exertion. These individuals are encouraged to postpone or reduce vigorous outdoor activity, or schedule outdoor activity in the morning, when ozone levels are lower. Even persons who are otherwise healthy may experience health effects when ozone levels increase.

Health Impacts: Elevated levels of ozone have been linked with respiratory health effects. Exposure to high levels of ozone may exacerbate preexisting health conditions. High ozone levels may make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously, cause shortness of breath and breathing discomfort, and result in coughing and a sore or scratchy throat. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician.”

45.2″ rain at Yankeetown, Florida from Hurricane Easy in 1950, the record for most rain from a tropical cyclone in Florida. Details below.

Hundred-Degree Highs In The Twin Cities Metro:

103 F. June 7, 2011
101 F. July 31, 2006
101 F. July 13, 1995
100 F. July 3, 1990
101 F. August 1, 1988
105 F. July 31, 1988
102 F. July 15, 1988
101 F. June 24, 1988
102 F. June 8, 1985
100 F. July 5, 1982

* thanks to Greg Spoden, Climatologist at the Minnesota DNR, for passing this along.

A Week’s Worth Of Records. 2,091 records in just the last week, record rains from the Pacific Northwest to Duluth to New England, and a surge of record heat. Map courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather.

We’re seeing these conditions 30 to 45 days earlier, as far as the level of fuel and the low moisture,” he said. “We’ve seen the fire season develop much earlier in Colorado than in the past.” – excerpt from a New York Times article on the rash of wildfires impacting the western USA. Photo: NOAA.

Score One For The Environment. “Federal Court Upholds EPA’s Global Warming Rules”. Bloomberg Businessweek has the full story here.

List Of Wettest Tropical Cyclones In The USA. Wikipedia has an interesting (and relevant) entry: “Many of the wettest tropical cyclones in the United States have moved into the contiguous United States from the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the eastern Pacific Ocean. The highest rainfall totals in the country have been measured across the Gulf Coast and lower portions of the Eastern Seaboard. Intermediate amounts have been measured across the SouthwestNew England, and the Midwest. The northern Great Plains and Pacific Northwest have received the lowest amounts, as those regions lie exceptionally far from the breeding grounds of Atlanticand Eastern Pacific tropical cyclonesTropical Storm Amelia‘s total rainfall is the most recorded within the contiguous United States. Tropical Storm Claudette holds the national 24-hour rainfall record, with 42 inches (1,100 mm) falling within a day. Taking place only one year apart, in 1978 and 1979, Amelia and Claudette are the two wettest tropical cyclones to have occurred in TexasHurricane Hiki in 1950 led to significant rainfall in the mountains of Hawaii; with 52 inches (1,300 mm) of rainfall reported, this is the most rainfall reported to have been produced by a tropical cyclone within the United States.”

* Cyclone “Easy” dumped 45.2″ of rain on Yankeetown, Florida in 1950, the Florida state record.

NOAA Fire Detect. Here is a map showing real-time wildfires and forest fires around the USA, courtesy of NOAA’s Fire Detect program. Smoke plumes are also displayed – don’t be surprised if you notice some extra-red, smoky sunsets in the coming days and weeks.

Boulder Blaze. Thanks to Dan G. Bergeron who snapped this photo of the Boulder, Colorado wildfire from Broadway, near the campus of CU.

Colorado Wildfires 2012: “Worst Wildfires In A Decade”. More details fromHuffington Post:  “COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Flames forced thousands of Colorado residents from their homes over the weekend and disrupted vacation plans for countless visitors as smoke shrouded some of the state’s top tourist destinations, including majestic Pike’s Peak and tranquil Estes Park. Colorado is having its worst wildfire season in a decade, with more than a half dozen forest fires burning across the state’s parched terrain. Some hotels and campgrounds are emptying ahead of the busy Fourth of July holiday.”

Photo credit above: “In this Saturday, June 23, 2012 photo provided by Darrell Spangler, a firefighter works the scene of a home being consumed by flames in Estes Park, Colo. As many as 21 structures were destroyed by the fire on Saturday. Eight separate wildfires are burning across Colorado, which is seeing record-breaking heat.” (AP Photo/Darrell Spangler)


Heat-Driven Wildfires Continue To Consume The West. 100-degree plus heat, coupled with persistent (tinder-dry) winds, are creating explosively-ripe conditions for wildfires in the western USA. Here’s an excerpt from The New York Times: “….Explosive wildfires have burned across much of the West in recent weeks. In southwestern New Mexico, the largest wildfire in state history has burned nearly 300,000 acres. And in Utah, firefighters were nearing full containment of the Dump Fire, which forced thousands from their homes before evacuation orders were lifted on Saturday. By Sunday evening, the evacuation orders were lifted for Manitou Springs, but they remained for some of the other tiny mountain communities tucked around Colorado Springs. With temperatures reaching well into the 90s on Monday and summer winds whipping through the mountains, the 450 firefighters now battling the blaze were bracing for another tough day.”

Colorado Springs Fire. This photo of the Waldo Canyon Fire was taken near the Air Force Academy. Thanks to @RaRoulette for sending this into WeatherNation TV.

Colorado Wildfires: C-130 Air Tankers Called In For “Surge Capability”. They’re calling in (all) the reinforcements – the equivalent of fighting a war out west. Here’s an excerpt from The Denver Post: “The battle to contain devastating wildfires across Colorado reached a new and more aggressive stage Monday as C-130 military tankers joined the fight to bombard the Waldo Canyon blaze with thousands of gallons of fire retardant. Four of the C-130 aircraft, two from the 302nd Airlift Wing of the U.S. Air Force Reserve at Peterson Air Force Base and two from the 153rd Airlift Wing of the Wyoming Air National Guard in Cheyenne, took to the skies with 3,000 gallons of fire retardant in each of their bellies.”

Photo credit above: “A C-130 Hercules lands at Peterson Air Force Base for more fire retardant Tuesday, June 26, 2012, while fighting the Waldo Canyon Fire. Four air tankers were battling the fire west of Colorado Springs, Colorado. The tankers dropped 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds, covering an area one-quarter mile long by 100 feet wide.” (Christian Murdock/Colorado Springs Gazette/MCT)

Colorado Evacuees Wait As Wildfires Blaze On. The sad fact: it’s still very early for fires of this magnitude and scope – at this rate 2012 may turn into an historic year for wildfires west of the Mississippi. Here’s an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: “...Low winter snowfall brought on an early fire season, said Tom Tidwell, chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Years of drought, record-breaking heat and low humidity, coupled with miles of dead, dry trees killed from beetle infestations, have converged to make for the incendiary conditions. On a fire danger index of 1 to 6, based on temperature and moisture content of vegetation, Colorado has measured a “super 6” since Saturday, said Steve Segin, public information officer for the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center, which coordinates firefighting in five states.”

Photo credit above: “Smoke billows from the hills west of Colorado Springs, Colo., where the Waldo Canyon fire had forced thousands to evacuate.” (Bob Pearson, European Pressphoto Agency / June 25, 2012).

“The Harsh Light Of Day”. Thanks to the U.S. Forest Service and Twitter for passing this one along.

Good Riddance. Debby was downgraded to a tropical depression yesterday evening, before sweeping into the Atlantic tonight and early Thursday, accelerating quickly out to sea. All the models agree on that. Source here.

5-Day Rainfall Prediction. Another 5″ of rain is predicted for the Jacksonville area, but Florida will dry out the latter half of this week. T-storms may dump over 1″ of rain on Rockford, Madison and Chicago, but dry (hot) weather is the rule through much of next week. Source: NOAA.

Robot Boats To Sail Into Tropical Storms, Improve Forecasts. Here’s a snippet from a fascinating article from Sun Sentinel and “FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — They don’t look much like boats, or robots for that matter. Yet a small fleet of crewless watercraft are to be sent right into the paths of tropical storms for the first time this year with an important mission: Collect valuable ocean and atmospheric data that should improve hurricane forecasts. “We want to obtain swift and continuous data from the eye of the storm for several days, which is very difficult to get in real time,” said Justyna Nicinska, a program manager with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Two different models of the aquatic drones will be launched into hurricane-prone areas, likely near Puerto Rico and Key West. Both models will be satellite-linked to transmit the data they collect back to computers at the National Hurricane Center west of Miami.” Photo above: NASA.

Social Media And Natural Disasters: Tropical Storm #Debby Proves Still Room For Improvement. Here’s an excerpt of a very interesting post from The Marketing Nut: “For those that may not be aware there is a tropical storm hitting the South in  the USA. Tropical storm Debby (#Debby on Twitter) decided to hang out near Florida starting this past weekend. She has brought with her massive amounts of rain and tornados. Practically the entire state of Florida (where I live) has been under Tornado watch or Tropical Storm warning since Sunday. Our home has water seeping thru carpet in two rooms and an end to the rain is not on the horizon in the near future. The purpose of this post is not to share with you our rain stories but to share some discoveries I made during the past 48 hours regarding social media and the businesses who are and are not part of the #Debby conversation.”

Cloud Formation Discovery Expected To Impact Future Military Operations.

The Navy is pushing ahead with ground-breaking research, as reported “DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) — A newly discovered radar capability to detect individual cloud hydrometeors in the free atmosphere can impact future performance of combat systems and military decision making, Navy scientists announced June 21. The technical details of the capability – made possible with a very high-resolution Doppler radar – are expounded in a paper entitled “Radar Observations of Individual Rain Drops in the Free Atmosphere” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal May 28. “This series of experiments demonstrate classic science,” said Dr. Mark Anderson, a Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) principal systems scientist who co-authored the paper. “The Navy’s ultimate hope in understanding these cloud formations is to improve the description and forecasting of severe weather which in-turn would help the Navy and DoD (Department of Defense) in evaluating systems performance and in day-to-day decision making.” Image above: NASA.

How Navy Supercomputers Help Sailors Beat Ancient Nemesis. We have a theme going here. My hope is some of that military supercomputer know-how eventually trickles down to the private sector. has the story; here’s an excerpt: “MONTEREY, Calif.–One after another, the framed pictures on both walls of the narrow hallway tell the story: submarines and naval ships churning white wakes as they slash through open ocean, each photo accompanied by unbidden gratitude. “Thank you for your team’s efforts & hard work! You ensure my safety and enhance my tactical advantage,” one reads. Welcome to the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Numerical Meteorology & Oceanography Center. That long-and-hard-to-say name notwithstanding, this is one of the United States military’s sharpest weapons in the never-ending battle for survival in rough seas all around the globe.”
Map credit above: Fleet Numerical Meteorology & Oceanography Center

Lightning Fatalities in 2011. NOAA has a URL that describes all lightning-related deaths last year – the vast majority of victims were camping or fishing. Remember, lightning is lazy – it wants the easiest way from the cloud base to the ground. If you’re the tallest object in the area you run the risk of turning into a human lightning rod. Not good.

NTSB: Cockpit Weather Displays Could Mislead Pilots. There’s always a lag between when a Doppler radar image is “captured” by a local NWS weather service office – and when that data reaches the public. In the case of aviation, with split-second decisions involving routing around T-storms, that 10-20 minute lag can be dangerous, as reported by; here’s an excerpt: “Weather imagery that private pilots see on cockpit displays — advertised as “real time” data by some firms — could be up to 20 minutes old, giving pilots a dangerously false sense of existing conditions, federal safety officials warned this week. While pilots generally know that weather information is five minutes old, the actual age can be much older, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a safety alert. That “could mean the difference between life and death” in rapidly changing weather conditions, said NTSB Chairwoman Deborah A.P. Hersman. The problem affects thousands of general aviation aircraft, ranging from small two-seat aircraft to large corporate jets, which use Next Generation Radar, or NEXRAD, systems. It does not impact large commercial jetliners, which use other weather-monitoring systems.”

Car Accidents: 8 Driver Do’s And Don’ts In Hurricanes, Floods And Storms That Flood. Here’s an excerpt of some very good advice from the Brooklyn edition

DON’T Stop to Take That Amazing Photo of the Swollen River During Floods

If you find yourself staring at a swollen river overflowing that picturesque, don’t pop out of the car and start snapping pictures and sending them from your mobile phone to your friends.
Everyone loves to get that unusual photo, but don’t  waste precious time being a citizen journalist if you happen to be driving through an area that’s starting to flood.
Act quickly. That means move to higher ground.”

DO Detour Around a Dangerous Route to Avoid Flood Areas

There’s always another way around something. Detour around a flood zone even if it takes time. Or, postpone whatever meeting or errand you were going to drive to if there’s a flood warning. Is it really essential? If not, don’t go.”

DON’T Try to Drive Through a Water-Covered Roadway

You can’t really judge the depth of a flood, and certainly not when approaching in a car. How deep is it? Will you get stuck? If  the water is flowing,  the current might be stronger than you’d expect.”
* photo above courtesy of NOAA.

Bom Threat Disposal? There’s An App For That. Now I’ve officially seen everything – details from “Imagine if you were a police officer who suddenly realized that the abandoned vehicle you were assessing contained a bomb. While you might have had some training in how to handle such situations, would it all easily come back to you in the heat of the moment? Well, even if it wouldn’t, you might still know what to do … if you were using the FiRST app. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security developed the application for emergency response personnel, to serve as a step-by-step guide for managing bomb threats.”

15 Funniest Ways To Beat The Heat. Not sure we’ll be chuckling out there later today, but here is an attempt to find humor in our near-triple-digit heat, courtesy of Huffington Post: “With a brutal heat wave tearing across the U.S., those who aren’t clinging to their A.C. units are probably looking for new ways to beat the heat. With temperatures reaching up to 100 degrees in some places, those without air conditioning need to get creative, fast. But don’t worry! We found 15 funny, DIY ways to beat the heat by creating your own cooling system. Some of the ideas are pretty brilliant life-hacks (like a fan mounted on the driver’s side of a car) and some are just plain dangerous and dumb (like taping a fan to the ceiling), but regardless, the spirit of creative problem solving is what counts. Vote for the funniest solution below.Photo credit above: College Humor.

It’s Hot Outside: Exhibit A.

It’s Hot Outside: Exhibit B.

“Gonna Be A Hot One”. Photo courtesy of Matt McKean, AP

Flirting With 100?
Welcome to one of the hottest days of the year. The same inflamed, desert airmass that sparked 105 in Denver Monday (tied for the hottest reading ever recorded) will brush southern Minnesota later today; a few thermometers may approach 100. Factor in a dew point in the mid-70s and it may feel like 105-110 F.
Don’t even THINK about leaving a child (or pet) in a parked vehicle. When it’s 95 F. outside the temperature inside your vehicle can approach 200 F. within half an hour; a deadly heat spike.
According to Greg Spoden at the MN DNR, the Twin Cities have endured 100-degree heat on 10 days since 1982. We may come close later today.
Humidity levels drop off slightly Thursday, but highs flirt with 90 into much of next week, as a bloated ridge of high pressure stalls over America’s midsection. No more sweeps of cool, clean Canadian air until further notice. The Dog Days of Summer have arrived a few weeks ahead of schedule, just like everything else this year. One silver lining to this antiperspirant-worthy weather pattern: no monsoon rains are brewing.
T-storms may rumble across southern Minnesota on Saturday, but much of the 4th of July week looks dry, and “hot enough”.
Climate Stories…

U.S. Appeals Court Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Emission Rules. Think Progresshas the story; here’s an excerpt: “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today unanimously ruled in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) legal authority to limit industrial carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act to protect Americans’ health. Carol M. Browner, former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress said:

“The Court’s decision should put an end, once and for all, to any questions about the EPA’s legal authority to protect us from industrial carbon pollution through the Clean Air Act. This decision is a devastating blow to those who challenge the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change and deny its impact on public health and welfare.”

Background Claims By Minnesota State Senate’s Global-Warming Skeptic Fail To Check Out. Here is a video clip – and corrected version of a story Don Shelby wrote on June 15, 2011: “The Minnesota Senate’s most notable authority on global warming comes from East Bethel. Michael Jungbauer was once its mayor. He is in his third term at the state Legislature and he has fashioned himself into a force of nature when it comes to the environment.  But Jungbauer doesn’t believe the planet is warming. In fact, he told me, “I think the earth is going to cool.” From his position on the Senate Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee, he has the power to change the way Minnesota approaches the issue. And his influence is apparent. The Minnesota Legislature has been busy undoing much of Minnesota’s nation-leading policies enacted to deal with global warming.”

Goodbye To Mountain Forests. Here’s an excerpt of an article from The New York Times: “When the smoke finally clears and new plant life pokes up from the scorched earth after the wildfires raging in the southern Rockies, what emerges will look radically different than what was there just a few weeks ago. According to Craig Allen, a research ecologist with the United States Geological Survey in Los Alamos, New Mexico, forests in the region have not been regenerating after the vast wildfires that have been raging for the last decade and a half. Dr. Allen, who runs the Jemez Mountains Field Station at Bandelier National Monument, says those forests are burning into oblivion and grasslands and shrublands are taking their place. “Rising temperature is going to drive our forests off the mountains,” he said.”

A Fresh Look At Oil’s Long Goodbye. Here’s an excerpt of an article (and video) from Andrew Revkin at The New York Times (subscription may be required to view this): “My bedtime reading tonight is “Oil: The Next Revolution – The unprecedented upsurge of oil production capacity and what it means for the world.” This mind-bending report points to a prolonged period of rising oil production, particularly in the United States (for reasons laid out below), and a potential collapse in oil prices, with all kinds of implications for security, international politics, the economy and, without doubt, climate. The report is written by Leonardo Maugeri, a top oil company executive from Italy who is currently a research fellow at the Geopolitics of Energy Project of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Here’s a video interview with Maugeri posted by the Belfer Center.”

Hey California, Hot Enough For ‘Ya? Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed in The L.A. Times: “….But wait, there’s more! It seems that the Golden State is going to get goldener, as in burnt-toast gold:

“By the middle of the century, the number of days with temperatures above 95 degrees each year will triple in downtown Los Angeles, quadruple in portions of the San Fernando Valley and even jump five-fold in a portion of the High Desert in L.A. County,” according to a new UCLA climate change study.

Of course, I like to find silver linings in bad news.  So here it is:  We’ll be hot, but if we want to go to the beach to cool off, the ocean won’t be as far away.”

Photo credit above: “The destructive power of rising sea levels will be felt first when storms hit vulnerable places such as Newport Beach, said Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz. Above, the Wedge at Newport Beach.”(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / June 25, 2012).

“The World Will Be Drawn Into War Over Resources.” Here’s a portion of an Op-Ed from The Guardian: “Massive geopolitical shifts seldom announce themselves with a bang. They tend instead to creep up slowly, until it’s hard to be sure exactly when they began. I remember going to buy some steel about six years ago, and being staggered by the price. “Ah,” the man in the hardware store explained, “it’s the Chinese, you see. They’re buying up so much steel, the price has gone through the roof.” The last time I visited my brother, all the lead had been stripped from his garden shed – the second theft in two months – thanks to rocketing lead prices. And it must have been around the time of the Iraq war that I recall first hearing someone say the next big war would be fought over water. At the time the prediction had sounded far-fetched; these days, it’s a commonplace.”



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Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

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