All Weather News

Biggest Midwestern Storm in 5 Months – Dakota Snow Potential – Tropical Storm “Karen” Forming In Gulf of Mexico

One Welcome Soaking. 4km. NAM model data suggests some 2-4″ rainfall amounts over parts of the upper Midwest by Saturday. This is the long-duration rainfall event we need to ease the drought. Map: Ham Weather.

Censored For Your Mental Health. This is all happening too fast; a sudden rush of winter. You have to feel for residents of Pierre, South Dakota, where the high was 88F on Monday. A inch or two of slush is possible over central South Dakota, plowable amounts of snow over the Black Hills and Wyoming. Snowfall prediction: NOAA and Ham Weather.

Looks Like Rain. The 4km NAM did a good job showing last night’s heavy T-storms. As a deepening area of low pressure pushes north across the Plains waves of rain will drift across the state, heavy at times, mixing with snow over the western Dakotas. Animation: Ham Weather.

Tracking A Real Storm – And A Risk of “Karen”? GFS model guidance shows an intense storm pushing from Wichita and Omaha to the Twin Cities by Saturday, whipping up 30-40 mph winds across the Dakotas, where rain will change to wet snow by Friday and Saturday. Watch the disturbance pushing north across the Gulf of Mexico – there’s a growing chance it will become Tropical Storm Karen, with possible Saturday impact between New Orleans and Pensacola. Loop: Ham Weather.

Raw Saturday Blues. If you’re in the Midwest, you might want to check out “Gravity” and “Rush” at the local theaters on Saturday. It’ll be much too wet to take in the dock, or move the lawn chairs, or clean out the gutters. College football, rearranging your sock drawer – come up with an alternative, a Plan B. Showery rains linger Saturday, 4pm temperatures above courtesy of the NAM model and Ham Weather.

Slushy Weekend Roads Across The Dakotas? The map above shows 1 am temperatures early Sunday morning. Payback for all those mild, glorious days in September in parts of the upper Midwest? Probably.

Government Shutdown Affects Weather, Climate Programs. Impacts are showing up (not directly related to severe weather prediction or tracking), but some data sources are down – I know that from personal experience. Here’s an excerpt from Climate Matters: “…According to a spokesperson for the Commerce Department, which houses NOAA, the missions of “weather, water, and climate observing, prediction, forecast, warning, and support” will all continue despite a lapse in fiscal year 2014 appropriations. However, much of NOAA’s research activities have stopped or been slowed. For example, Harold Brooks, a top tornado researcher who works at the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla., reported his furlough notice on Facebook on Tuesday. Much of the staff at NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Lab and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, except for positions related to maintaining computing resources, have also been furloughed. Those two labs are heavily involved in NOAA’s climate research programs…”

October Tornado Reminder. Although rare, tornadoes in Minnesota and Wisconsin have been observed as late as mid-November.

Critical Fire Risk Southern California. Powerful Santa Ana winds are forecast to howl through the canyons of southern California later this week, reaching speeds as high as 60 mph. Throw in tinder-dry humidity levels and bright sun and you have all the ingredients for erratic, fast-moving wildfires near L.A. and San Diego.

Florida Faces Ruinous Flood Rate Hikes. Here’s a clip from the Bradenton Herald: “…Under the law, 13 percent of the 2 million homeowners who carry flood insurance in Florida will be affected by the rate increase — compared to 20 percent of all policyholders nationwide. Those homeowners will see their rates rise 25 percent upon renewal until they decide to sell their homes, and then the new buyer will have to pay the full cost of that insurance — in some cases as much as 3,000 percent more than current rates — to reflect the true flood risk of their property. The result is having a chilling effect on real estate sales as buyers balk at closing on purchases of older homes that now carry the subsidized rates, said John Sebree, senior vice president of the Florida Realtors Association…”

The Hard Math Of Flood Insurance In A Warming World. Time Magazine has a comprehensive story on spiking insurance rates and the escalating cost of having a home or business on or near America’s coastline. Maybe perpetutal climate skeptics will come around when it hits them in the wallet – when they witness the impact of more extremes on their insurance premiums. It’s already happening, because insurance companies don’t care about ideology or spin – they respond to the actual numbers. Here’s the intro: “Thousands of homeowners in flood-prone parts of the country are going to be in for a rude awakening.  On Oct. 1, new changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which offers government-subsidized policies for households and businesses threatened by floods, mean that businesses in flood zones and homes that have been severely or repeatedly flooded will start going up 25% a year until rates reach levels that would reflect the actual risk from flooding. (Higher rates for second or vacation homes went into effect at the start of 2013.) That means that property owners in flood-prone areas who might have once been paying around $500 a year—rates that were well below what the market would charge, given the threat from flooding—will go up by thousands of dollars over the next decade…”

File Photo: 2012 Duluth flood aftermath courtesy of Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune.

Florida To Sue Georgia In U.S. Supreme Court Over Water. Too much water in some areas, much too little water in others, and once aquifers run out of water or drought triggers greatly reduced water flow in area rivers the situation becomes unmanageable. Here’s a clip from a story at Bloomberg: “Florida plans to file a U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit against Georgia, saying the state is consuming too much water that would otherwise flow to Florida, the latest battle nationally over an increasingly scarce resource. The dispute is fueled by the rapid growth of the metropolitan area surrounding Atlanta, which is demanding more water and hurting the oyster industry in Northwest Florida, Florida Governor Rick Scott, 60, said yesterday. Scott, a Republican, said he would file suit next month after the two states couldn’t reach an agreement. “That’s our water,” Scott told reporters while standing next to the Apalachicola Bay in the Florida Panhandle. “They’ve impacted our families. They’ve impacted the livelihood of people down here…”
Photo credit: Thinkstock.

Florida Man Takes Boat Right Into A Waterspout. In case you missed this video clip that went viral. I guess this makes some sense: storm chasers track tornadoes on land, adventurous boaters seek out waterspouts up close and personal. Here’s a link to the video and article at The Orlando Sentinel: “A Florida man saw a spinning funnel cloud and did what you would expect…from a Florida man. He turned his boat and drove it right through it. Kevin Johnsen, of Marathon, who is a charter boat captain at Florida Keys Fish Adventures captured video of five waterspouts off the Florida coast last week and recorded a video of he and another man, Aaron Osters, taking their boat and piloting it right through one of the waterspouts…”
Photo credit above: “Kevin Johnsen took this photo on Sept. 25, 2013 off the Florida coast. He writes, “This is one of the better shots, but the wide angle camera can’t pick up the details of how striking the scenery was.” (Courtesy of Kevin Johnsen, Florida Keys Reel Adventures / October 1, 2013).

Celestial Magic. I wish there was an effective, reliable way to predict aurora in advance. There isn’t, at least not yet. Tuesday night’s episode of The Northern Lights was visible as far south as Nebraska, shimmering curtains of red and green, the result of a major solar flare sending out a stream of charged particles that interacted with Earth’s magnetic field. Thanks to Neva Andersen who snapped this amazing photo in northern Minnesota. Photo courtesy of KARE-11 and WeatherNation TV.

One Wild Sight. Thanks to Natale Weidner in Albertville, MN for sending in a photo of rare asperatus, a cloud type that was only recently classified by meteorologists.

The Garage Where Google Was Born. Both Google and Apple were (literally) started in Silicon Valley garages. Humble origins for what would transform into world-changing, multi-billion-dollar worldwide enterprises. Here’s an excerpt of a great read at Mashable: “It all started in a garage that you can still find with minimal effort — especially if you’re using Google Maps. Less than one mile off U.S. Route 101, the highway that links San Francisco to the rest of Silicon Valley, you’ll come to a quiet neighborhood a stone’s throw from Stanford’s beautifully manicured campus. It was in Menlo Park, in a single-story home on Santa Margarita Avenue, that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin rented the garage from Susan Wojcicki, now a Google senior VP, who was fresh out of business school and afraid of missing her mortgage payments…”

Read more here:

Climate Stories…

Preparing Minnesota for Climate Change: A Conference on Climate Adaptation. This daylong event is being held Thursday, November 7, 2013 9 am – 5:30 pm, followed by a reception at The Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. This is the first annual gathering of local and state experts covering a diverse range of topics related to climate mitigation and adaptation in Minnesota, and some tickets are still available. I’ll be there; if you’re personally interested in this topic, or have an interest in possible impacts on your business or public sector duties in the years ahead you should plan on attending. Here’s a good overview from the organizer of the event, Dr. Mark Seeley: “The first ever statewide conference on climate change adaptation practices will take place at the Science Museum in downtown St Paul on November 7, 2013 from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.  The cost for the conference is modest at $60 and includes lunch, breaks, parking, and a free pass to the Science Museum. This conference which is titled “Preparing Minnesota for Climate Change: A Conference on Climate Adaptation” has been designed by those who have been measuring and documenting the changing climate attributes in the state and their associated consequences.  Professionals who have worked in transportation, agriculture, energy, health care, city planning, watershed and forest management, and the insurance industry will share their stories and experiences relative to adapting to our changing climate. The educational sessions will be followed by an evening reception in the Science Museum cafeteria at 5:30 pm so that informal socializing and networking among citizens and groups can occur.”  If interested in attending you can visit the web site for the conference at

Photo credit above: “June 2012’s torrential rains devastated landscapes and wiped out the Highway 210 approach to the Thomson Bridge in Jay Cooke State Park, ten miles southwest of Duluth.” Photo credit: Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Climate Change: How Hot Will It Get In My Lifetime? The Guardian has an interactive tool that lets you see how much warming the world has experienced since you were born, along with possible outcomes based on future GHG emissions: “The UN is to publish the most exhaustive examination of climate change science to date, predicting dangerous temperature rises. How hot will it get in your lifetime? Find out with our interactive guide, which shows projections based on the report.”
Graphic credit above: “Data provided by the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, and Department of Physics, University of Oxford, with support from the Oxford Martin Programme on Resource Stewardship and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Modelling by Richard Millar. Interactive by Duncan Clark.”

Temperature projections are based on the idealised climate model of Boucher and Reddy (2009), as used for calculation of warming potentials in IPCC (2013), driven by the IPCC “RCP8.5” high emissions scenario. They are consistent with, but not identical to, to the projections of the IPCC (2013).

Yosemite’s Largest Ice Mass Is Melting Fast. I’m sure it’s just an optical illusion. The Los Angeles Times has the story; here’s the intro: “Climate change is taking a visible toll on Yosemite National Park, where the largest ice mass in the park is in a death spiral, geologists say. During an annual trek to the glacier deep in Yosemite’s backcountry last month, Greg Stock, the park’s first full-time geologist, found that Lyell Glacier had shrunk visibly since his visit last year, continuing a trend that began more than a century ago. Lyell has dropped 62% of its mass and lost 120 vertical feet of ice over the last 100 years. “We give it 20 years or so of existence — then it’ll vanish, leaving behind rocky debris,” Stock said…”

Photo credits above: “The photo on the left of Lyell Glacier in Yosemite National Park was taken by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1883; the one on the right was taken by park geologist Greg Stock in late September.” (U.S. Geological Survey; Greg Stock)

Climate Change Bringing More Severe Wildfires. Fire season out west is already 78 days longer, on average, than it was 40 years ago. Here’s the intro to a story at Risk Management Magazine: “By 2050, wildfire season will be three weeks longer and result in fires that are up to twice as smoky and spread considerably wider, based on calculations by a team of environmental scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. While many groups have attempted to project the impact of climate change on severe weather events like storms and floods, the SEAS team took its research a step further to examine secondary phenomena that are largely impacted by meteorological factors, such as forest fires and air quality…”

Have The Media Failed Us On Climate Change? The short answer: yes. Here’s a clip from Mother Jones: “With the release of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report in Stockholm on Friday, there were a wealth stories for journalists to pursue. Scientists are now more certain than ever that humans are causing global warming. Sea level rise projections have been increased—extremely bad news for coastal mega-cities. And researchers have  given a stark warning about the irreversibility of much of global warming, and how it will literally play out over a millennium. But in recent weeks, we’ve seen a flood of media coverage advancing dubious claims pushed by global warming skeptics, including:

* A large number of news article headlines framed around an alleged global warming “pause” that scientists have dismissed as statistically meaningless and insignificant.
* A British tabloid, The Mail on Sunday, portraying the sixth lowest Artic sea ice level on record as a “rebound” that undermines climate science—a claim that then reverberated in conservative media and even made its way to the halls of Congress…”

Image credit above: “Fox News in October 2012.”

Climate Skeptics More Likely To Be Conspiracy Theorists And Free Market Advocates, Study Claims. The Guardian has the story – here’s a clip: “Do you think the Apollo moon landings might have been faked or that Britain’s Royal family maybe, just maybe, conspired to assassinate Princess Diana because they didn’t like her very much? How about that other conspiracy theory, where there really is this secret New World Order group with designs on global domination. Maybe you’re up for that other chestnut that has the US government knowing beforehand about the September 11 attacks but letting them happen anyway so as to have a good excuse to bomb Afghanistan? If you answered yes to any of these conspiracy theories then a new study published today has found that you probably also think the science of human-caused climate change is some sort of hoax and you might think too that there’s no good evidence for vaccinating children…”

* more on the possible link between conspiracy theorists and climate denial from Mother Jones.

Did The Arctic Ice Recover? Demographics Of True And False Climate Facts. I guess this reinforces what we already know: political affiliation and ideology often impact our personal data filters – we’re more willing to “accept” scientific findings if they align with our world-view. Here’s a summary of a new research abstract at the AMS, The American Meteorological Society: “Beliefs about climate change divide the U.S. public along party lines more distinctly than hot social issues. Research finds that better-educated or informed respondents are more likely to align with their parties on climate change. This information–elite polarization resembles a process of biased assimilation first described in psychological experiments. In nonexperimental settings, college graduates could be prone to biased assimilation if they more effectively acquire information that supports their beliefs. Recent national and statewide survey data show response patterns consistent with biased assimilation (and biased guessing) contributing to the correlation observed between climate beliefs and knowledge…”

Why the “distrust” in its (IPCC) findings? Some genuinely dispute the methodologies. Others, though, are influenced not by the research but by the funds they are receiving. The burning of coal to make electricity, for example, comprises at least a third of all man-made heat-trapping emissions. But those interests have given millions to sitting members of Congress, none of whom have any professional background in the field of climate science. During the 2012 campaign season, Alpha Natural Resources, Murray Energy, Console Energy, Arch Coal and Peabody Coal donated hundreds of thousands to candidates. The coal industry as a whole gave $8 million during that election cycle, says Sourcewatch. Some of that cash was aimed at trying to defeat President Obama while the preponderance was given to congressional Republicans who say that climate change can’t be consigned to human activity…”

The World’s Best Scientists Agree: On Our Current Path, Global Warming Is Irreversible – And Getting Worse. Here’s an excerpt of a good summary of the latest IPCC climate report (AR5) from Quartz:”…Some other important takeaways from the new document: 
• Between 1901–2012, “almost the entire globe has experienced surface warming… Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.”
• ”The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia…. It is virtually certain that global mean sea level rise will continue beyond 2100.”

• ”Atmospheric concentrations of CO2, methane, and N2O have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years….Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of CO2 are stopped…” 

Photo credit above: “Brace for more of this.” AP/Mike Groll.

Hit By Climate, Disaster Victims Call For Congressional Action. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at Live Science: “…Their stories were powerful and diverse, telling tales of crop-crippling drought in farms across the midwest, ravaging fires in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the west, and record-setting hurricanes and flooding along the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico. But all shared a common message: climate change is real and fueling more dangerous extreme weather events. They implored Congress to take action to cut carbon pollution and promote policies that will protect future generations from even greater climate threats predicted by scientists. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the Safe Climate Caucus, said these were voices that more Americans need to hear. “Your experiences are proof that climate change does have consequences,” Rep. Waxman told the witnesses. “Congress needs to hear from you and have you explain how a rapidly changing climate can exact a tremendous toll on communities across the country…”

IPCC Digested: Just Leave The Fossil Fuels Underground. New Scientist has the article – here’s an excerpt: “Merely reducing emissions is not enough. It will slow climate change, but in the end how much the planet warms depends on the overall amount of CO2 we pump out. To have any chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 2 °C, we have to limit future emissions to about 500 gigatonnes of CO2. Burning known fossil fuel reserves would release nearly 3000 gigatonnes, and energy companies are currently spending $600 billion trying to find more. The implications of the numbers are staggering. The value of these companies depends on their reserves. If at some point in the future the world gets serious about tackling climate change, these reserves will become worthless. About $4 trillion worth of shares would be wiped out, according to the non-profit Carbon Tracker Initiative. For most of us, that’s our pension funds at risk…”

Technology Is Moving Too Slowly For Climate-Change Target. Will technology save us? Or some combination of innovative energy breakthroughs and behavioral changes (we can all live with, accept and even embrace?) I don’t pretend to know. Here’s a clip of a rather gloomy assessment at M.I.T. Technology Review and Salon: “The IPCC says we can emit a trillion tons of carbon and still avoid major warming. We’ll emit much more. One of the key findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released last week was that we need to emit no more than one trillion tons of carbon in order to stand a good chance of limiting global warming to 2 °C. The problem is this: technology is not progressing fast enough to make this happen. The trillion-ton figure is really an estimate, as no one knows precisely how many tons of carbon will raise the temperature of the planet by 2 °C. And less warming than that could cause significant damage, while humans will probably survive higher levels. That said, the number provides one of the clearest ways of thinking about what most climate scientists believe needs to be done to avert serious climate change…”

Photo credit above: “In this May 22, 2012 photo, a road crosses through an agricultural area of a forest in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic.” (Credit: AP/Ricardo Arduengo).



My Photo

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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.