All Weather News

DNC Downpours; “Leslie” may threaten Bermuda & Canadian Maritimes

WRF Solution. After a soggy start skies slowly clear across Minnesota later today, showers and T-storms pushing into Wisconsin and the Chicago area. Heavy showers and T-storms sprout this afternoon from Hartford to Atlanta – more potentially heavy downpours for DNC festivities in Charlotte.


Hurricane Leslie. For now it appears that Hurricane Leslie will spare New England, but Nova Scotia and Prince Edwards Island, Canada may not be so lucky. Bermuda may be struck by hurricane-force winds later this week. GFS solution above valid on September 11 (the day when hurricanes are most likely to reach land over the USA).


Leslie’s Track. Models show an eventual drift to the north/northeast, away from coastal New England. With water temperatures over the North Atlantic 5-10 F. warmer than average, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Leslie reach the Canadian Maritimes as a significant hurricane early next week. Map: Ham Weather Alerts Broadcaster. More information on Leslie from NOAA NHC.

46 days at or above 90 F. in Chicago. All-time record: 47 days in 1988.

101 F. heat index in Des Moines Tuesday.

I am not a scientist myself, but my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences,” Romney said in response to a question about climate change.….Romney stops short, however, of accepting that human beings’ consumption of fossil fuels is the main cause of climate change. “There remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue — on the extent of the warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the severity of the risk,” he wrote.” – excerpt from a story at the L.A. Times.


Tuesday Severe Storm Reports. 3″ diameter hail at Canton, Minnesota? That’ll put a ding in your Prius. There were numerous reports of large hail over southeastern Minnesota, and straight-line wind damage over central Wisconsin. An interactive map from Ham Weather here.


Rainfall Required To Ease Drought. This map, courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather, puts things into better perspective. Over 9″ of rain is required near Austin and Albert Lea to pull out of the drought, closer to 11″ over the Red River Valley. Portions of Iowa and Nebraska are even drier.

Isaac Proved Hard To Forecast. No kidding. The models were all over the place, but in fairness, most of the models did show Isaac doing a loop out over the Gulf of Mexico, prolonging the storm surge and torrential rains across Louisiana. Here’s an excerpt of an article at Herald-Tribune: “Hurricane Isaac was a close call for Florida and a cause for worry much longer than usual, given recent improvements in storm predictions.  Forecasters missed the mark on several occasions as Isaac moved through the Caribbean and into the Gulf of Mexico. They predicted Isaac would become a hurricane before striking the Florida Keys or Southwest Florida. They also forecast that it would travel much closer to the state than it did and eventually hit the Panhandle. From nearly the entire Florida coastline to Texas, Isaac had people worried about a landfalling hurricane. The storm made millions nervous, forced the Republican National Convention to be delayed last week, and exposed some classic problems with hurricane forecasting.”

Top 6 Myths, Facts About Flood, Hurricane Insurance. Here’s a very timely article from ABC News: “Hurricane Isaac is yet another reminder that flooding is the country’s number one natural hazard, according to the National Flood Insurance Program, which Congress created in 1968. As Hurricane Isaac came ashore, its strength as a Category 1 hurricane was weaker than that of Hurricane Katrina, which hit seven years ago. But in both storms, flooding was the main cause of damage.”

Photo credit above: Mike Kittrell/Press-Register/AP Photo.

Hurricane Forecasters Eager For New Tool In Space. New satellites are in the pipeline that will help hurricane forecasting, and allow meteorologists to track lightning strikes from low orbit. One concern: possible budget cuts at a federal level. Here’s more from Spaceflight Now: “Two satellites orbiting 22,300 miles above Earth kept Hurricane Isaac in their sights as it churned toward Louisiana, giving meteorologists clues on the storm’s wandering course and intensity….NOAA is preparing forecasters for a new series of spacecraft with advanced imagers and more robust instruments designed to further reduce forecasting blunders. “The next big thing on the horizon is the next generation of GOES, which is GOES R starting in 2015, and there will be another step up in what we can do with weather monitoring and hurricane analysis,” said Mark DeMaria, a NOAA researcher specializing in the use of satellite observations in hurricane forecasting.” Image above: NOAA.

State, Local Storm Costs Are Mounting. Details from The News Star; here’s an excerpt: “By the time Hurricane Isaac crossed the border into Arkansas as a tropical depression Thursday, Louisiana state government had spent almost $57 million preparing for its arrival and handling some of its impact. Now that the storm is gone and crews begin the cleanup while still dealing with flooding and other consequences, the costs are expected to climb sharply, says Gov. Bobby Jindal. Local government costs also are rising, he said, and as of Friday morning they had invested $10.1 million in storm-related work.” Photo above: Brownsville, Texas National Weather Service.

Cauliflower Cumulus. The National Weather Service in Jackson, Mississippi captured this photo of a sprouting cumulonimbus on Tuesday.

Survey: More People Using Mobile Apps During Emergencies. Which is all fine and good, until the cell towers go down. But the trends are undeniable, as reported in this article at Palm Harbor Patch: “Americans are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile devices during emergencies as a lifeline for information, a source for useful tools, and a way to let loved ones know they are safe, according to a new survey conducted by the American Red Cross. Mobile apps now identify social media as the fourth most popular way to get information in an emergency, following TV, radio and online news. The Red Cross survey found that 20 percent of Americans said they have gotten some kind of emergency information from an app, including emergency apps, those sponsored by news outlets and privately developed apps. “People are using social media to help others during emergencies by spreading useful information,” said Linda Carbone, CEO for Florida’s West Coast Region.” Image above: Ham Weather.

A Geologist Finds Deeper Meaning In Noah’s Flood. Here’s a clip from a very interesting article at The Salt Lake Tribune: “University of Washington geologist David R. Montgomery sees twin sources of divine knowledge: “what God made, and what God wrote.”  Unfortunately, Montgomery tells interviewer Brook Wilensky-Lanford at”  believers and academics often pit the two — science and religion — against each other, rather than exploring their intertwining. For centuries, the geologist says there was a “tradition of faith in the world around us, a belief that God didn’t create an incomprehensible universe. And [creationists have] just walked away from that. It’s bad theology dressed as science.” Image above: Wikipedia.

Saturn And Titan In Living Color. Here’s an excerpt of a fascinating article at “It will soon be spring on Saturn … and it will last for the next eight years or so. To celebrate the slow passing of the seasons of the giant ringed planet, NASA has released four real-color images sent back by the Cassini space probe. The images not only show the seasonal changes, but also the mysterious vortex recently discovered at the south pole of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.”

Photo credit above: “Saturn and Titan.” (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

Hot Flash

So here I sit, watching the ice melt over the North Pole. We reached a new record ice minimum 2 weeks ago, with another 2-3 weeks of melting left to go. I’m all for coincidence and serendipity, but the trends are overwhelming. 2012: warmest year on record, to date, for Minnesota. Warmest rolling 12-month period. 3rd warmest summer, but July was the second hottest month since 1891.

Yes, the UK had a cool summer, but looking at the entire Northern Hemisphere, warming has been pervasive. It’s not just the USA.

I’m still worried about drought. It’s expanding north and east. Lake water levels are falling, sugar maples are yellowing prematurely, due to dry weather. Sunday at the State Fair it looked like a mini Dust Bowl kicking up. We need rain.

So I won’t complain about T-storms today; the best chance of puddles this morning. Cool exhaust on the backside of the front drops highs into the 60s and low 70s the latter half of the week. It will finally start to feel like September.

A sunny, comfortable weekend gives way to a warming trend next week, before another (colder) shot by week’s end.

“Leslie” should spare New England, brushing Nova Scotia in 1 week.


* photo above: Steve Burns.


Climate Stories…

Wild Weather Is The New Normal And Insurance Companies Must Act. Here’s a clip from a story at Think Progress: “Severe weather has been clobbering insurance companies, and the headlines just keep coming. “Drought to cost insurers billions in losses,” said the Financial Times a few days ago. “Many U.S. hurricanes would cause $10b or more in losses in 2012 dollars,” the Boston Globe said about the latest hurricane forecasts. “June’s severe weather losses near $2 billion in U.S.,” said the Insurance Journal earlier this year. This year’s extreme events follow the world’s costliest year ever for natural catastrophe losses, including $32 billion in 2011 insured losses in the United States due to extreme weather events. This is no short-term uptick: insured losses due to extreme weather have been trending upward for 30 years, as the climate has changed and populations in coastal areas and other vulnerable places have grown.”

On Thin Ice: Time-Frame To Save The Arctic Is Melting Away. Renew Economy has the troubling details: “Something extraordinary is happening when graphs of melting Arctic sea-ice have their vertical axis redrawn because the data are falling off the chart. But that’s what has occurred in the last 10 days, since the extent of floating Arctic sea-ice broke the satellite-era minimum record on 24 August. On that date it was 4.2 million square kilometres, according to data from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Since then, an additional half a million square kilometres of sea-ice has melted. The extent on 4 September was just half of the average minimum extent of the 1980s. At the current rate of loss, with one to three weeks left in the northern melt season, the minimum may well shrink below 3.5 million square kilometres. This is an astounding story.”

Graph credit above: “Arctic sea-ice volume 1979–25 August 2012.” Data: PIOMAS. Graph: L. Hamilton

Climate Change Breaks The Ice; 3-Man Sailboat Makes Record Voyage. The amazing (and deeply troubling) story from The Los Angeles Times; here’s an excerpt: “Warming global temperatures and melting polar ice caps have helped a trio of explorers go where few men have gone before. In an account of their voyage posted Monday, the crew of the 31-foot Belzebub II — a fiberglass sailboat with a living space the size of a bathroom — described how they crossed through the M’Clure Strait in northern Canada, a decreasingly ice-packed route through the famed Northwest Passage. The international three-man crew — an American, Canadian and Swede — claim to have piloted the first sailboat to do so.”

Climate Change, Irreversibility, And Urgency. Here’s a clip from Dr. Richard Sommerville at

  • Two decades after the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, most governments have agreed that limiting the increase in the average surface temperature of the Earth to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels would represent a tolerable amount of global warming.
  • But the annual amount of human-caused global emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas driving climate change, is now about 50 percent larger than in 1992.
  • A failure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly within the next decade will have large adverse effects on the climate that will be essentially irreversible on human timescales.

Climate scientists like to think of themselves as wise planetary physicians, explaining to the world what they have learned about climate and advising humanity on how to cope with the challenge of climate change. This metaphor can also appear attractive to policymakers and the public. Consider the appealing similarities between deciding what you should do about your weight and what the world should do about global warming. You can ask your doctor’s opinion, but it is you who will determine your target weight. You can also ask your physician to recommend actions to reach that target. You can then experiment with diet and exercise, evaluate the results, and make changes. Throughout the process, you are in charge, and the physician’s role is simply to advise.

Obama, Romney Answer Top American Science Questions. Here’s an excerpt of a revealing interview of both Gov. Romney and President Obama at “President Barack Obama and his challenger Governor Mitt Romney have answered the Top American Science Questions.  Their answers can be compared at

The questions focus on fourteen key policy issues that, while among the most important, usually get short shrift on the campaign trail.  They include the candidates views of climate change, vaccinations, food safety, energy, education, space, and several other politically charged science issues. Notable highlights include a shift in Romney’s policy toward climate change away from his more recent position of “My view is we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet…” back toward his view in June of 2011 when announcing his run for president.  However Romney’s ideas about what to do about the problem are not clear.   They contrast with Obama’s, who says he has specifics plans and is taking specific steps such as doubling fuel economy standards, but who was unable to get a cap-and-trade bill through congress.”

Obama-Biden Campaign Awakening To Climate Change As Political Issue? Here’s a snippet from an article at “For too long, the Democratic Party “machine” has been eerily silent when it comes to the scientific consensus on climate change and the risks that catastrophic climate chaos creates for America and Americans. While much has been said and heard on ‘clean energy’ and ‘green jobs’, the words “climate change” and “global warming” have almost seemed to disappear from the Democratic Party’s lexicon as the Republican Party headed into ever-more extreme rejection of science with embrace and promotion of fossil-foolish global warming denialism. Thus, when it came to political leadership, the voice in the Village Square has been overwhelming shrill rejection of scientific knowledge.”

Climate Change Rate Said To Kill More Species Than It Creates. The story from; here’s an excerpt: “This week evolutionary ecologist Peter Mayhew has presented a set of findings which show the rate of climate change in the Earth to be detrimental to the number of species of animals on our planet. While findings in the past have shown that periods of warmth on our blue globe have also been times when the number of different species of animals has risen, the speed at which the Earth is warming here in the present is, as Mayhew suggests, too rapid for the increase in species to outweigh the number of species that are becoming extinct. The new study Mayhew presents works with a new way of looking at the number of species in each geological period studied with only well-sampled periods rather than with simple tallies of the first and last appearances of each species.”

The Six Stages Of Climate Grief. When do we get past denial and anger and eventually get to acceptance? That’s what I want to know. Think Progress has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Now that the hottest summer on record is drawing to a close, are we any closer to admitting that climate change is upon us? If not, why not? It might have something to do with the five stages of grief. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified these stages as denial, then anger, followed by bargaining, depression, and acceptance. With record drought killing our cattle and our corn, West Nile virus sweeping the country, and Arctic ice sheets melting away, it’s no surprise that millions of people are responding to these frightening signs of environmental decline in stages. Nobel Laureate Steve W. Running first proposed this frame for understanding the popular response to climate change in 2007. I’d like to go one step further and suggest a sixth stage: The Work.”

If A TV Weathercaster Went Off Script. One of these days (soon) something like this will happen. Another post from “What if (in the vein of Network and “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore”) a weather forecaster went truly off script and expressed, with the passion it merits, the seriousness of our climate situation? With that question in mind, here is a look at what the Labor Day weekend forecast should have been in a reality-based world.  The American Meteorological Society (AMS) recently updated its climate change statement which is substantive, long, and worth reading. Forecast the Facts is working to foster more serious climate discussion by meteorologists while shining light who propagate falsehoods about climate science.

Romney’s New Global Warming “Joke”. Here’s an excerpt from a story (and history of U.S. renewable energy initiatives – and failures) from “….Reagan slashed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s budget by 90 percent, halved the Energy Department’s conservation and alternative fuels budget, eliminated the wind investment tax credit, reduced spending on solar photovoltaic research by two-thirds, slashed energy tax credits for homeowners, and reduced fuel-efficiency standards for cars. “Due largely to Reagan’s policy reversals on alternative energy, the United States fell far short of Carter’s goal of getting 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2000, achieving about only one-quarter of that target, even less than what Carter’s policies had achieved by the early 1980s. …“Indeed, for those who understand the dire threat of catastrophic climate change and the curse of America’s continued addiction to fossil fuels, ‘A Road Not Taken’ can be a painful documentary to watch. It may be even more painful for our kids and grandkids to watch this film in a world that already is on its way to 11 degrees F warming (or more) by the end of the century. Scratch that. It won’t be painful to watch a movie. It will be painful to live in such a world.”

Photo credit above: “Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking in front of closed Solyndra plant.



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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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