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Drought Sparking Extra-Rough Allergy Season

13 Sep 2012, 5:06 am

49 dry days in a row in Seattle, the second longest stretch on record (old record: 51 days in 1951). Seattle Times.

100 days above 80 F. this year in Chicago. All-time record: 103 days. 46 days at or above 90 F.

Definition Of A “Cold Front”. From 80s and 90s on a Tuesday to Frost Advisories on a Thursday morning, at least across the Dakotas and Red River Valley.

Today’s Weather Map. Another quiet day is shaping up for most of the USA, an eastbound cool front sparking mostly light showers from Milwaukee and Chicago to St. Louis; heavier showers and T-storms over Texas and Louisiana. Warm, dry, sunny weather will dominate the west. WRF model valid 4 pm courtesy of NOAA.

Classic Green Bay Weather. Expect temperatures mostly in the 50s for this evening’s game in Green Bay – probably dry.

Yes, Your Allergies ARE Worse This Year. KARE-11 confirms what those of us who suffer from allergies already know: the drought is making things worse. Check out the video; here’s an excerpt of the story: “If you’re going through tissues like they’re going out of style, you’re not alone. It’s ragweed season, and it’s a doozy. “This time of year I take my prescription allergy medication but I also take Sudafed on top of that, plus I quadruple the strength of my asthma inhaler,” says Kristine Crossman-Little. Kristine is like thousands of others who always suffer at the end of summer, but this year seems to have an extra allergy kick. Why? there are a couple of reasons. First of all, the weather has been nice, which means you’re likely spending more time outdoors with the pollen. Then, there’s the fact that it has been so dramatically dry.”

Allergy Season Made Worse By Drought. Just what you wanted to hear. Details from KWWL-TV in Dubuque: “Many Iowans have found the symptoms of allergy season are bad this year. Ragweed, a plant native to Iowa, is the main cause of what people commonly call hay fever. Due to the drought, the pollen count is especially concentrated. Rain helps wash away a weed’s pollen, according to Bob Hartzler, weed specialist with the Iowa State University extension office and ISU professor of agronomy. With a drought this summer, he said, wave after wave of pollen has entered the air — and people’s sinuses. “The fall of the year tends to be very problematic for allergy sufferers, especially those that are pollen allergic,” allergy and asthma doctor Brad McClimon said Tuesday afternoon at Medical Associates in Dubuque. “The weeds, such as ragweed, tend to pollinate in the fall of the year, from about mid-August until the first frost, so we’re right in the midst of the pollen season.”


Southern Soaking. NOAA HPC is predicting some 3-4″ rains from near Dallas and Austin to New Orleans over the next 5 days, bone-dry weather west of the Rockies.



Sunset On Muddy Gut Road. Mike Hall snapped this terrific shot near Hancock, Kentucky late yesterday. Perfect.


Funnels In Unlikely Places. The Tucson, Arizona office of the National Weather Service snapped this photo of a funnel hovering over the Oro Valley. Details via Facebook: “An employee with the Oro Valley Police Department snagged this photo of a funnel cloud today over Oro Valley. The picture is a little blurry, but you can still clearly make out the funnel. The funnel lasted but a few short moments before dissipating. Did anybody else notice the funnel today?


Wall of Water. Thanks to WeatherNation TV for passing this one along. I’d say at least a 30% probability of a shower.

Snow Season Returns. Here’s an update on Pikes Peak from the Pleasant Hill, Missouri office of the NWS: “While temperatures are expected to climb near 90 today, here is just another reminder that the Fall season and then Winter season are approaching rapidly. Winter fans will love this shot from Pikes Peak in Colorado this afternoon as the first snowfall of the year falls above the tree line with a current temperature of 28 degrees! Some mountain areas are expected to receive upwards of 10″ of snow by tonight.

New App Provides Green Fuel Map For The U.S. If you own a hybrid, or use E-85 fuel for your vehicle, this free app might come in handy; details from “Switching to a vehicle running on alternative fuel presents a clear challenge – where do you fill it up? Designed by Leonardo Academy, Cleaner and Greener Fuels is a free app that gives users interactive maps to help them find the nearest alternative fuel stations all over the U.S. Available for both iPhone and Android devices, the app caters for electric cars as well as vehicles running on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), Biodiesel, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), E85, LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas, also known as propane) and hydrogen. The information is based on the database compiled by the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC).”


Apple Introduces iPhone 5. Wait, did Apple just release a new smart phone? I had no idea. Yeah – I’m a fanboy. I tried Android and it compared directly with the iPhone, and I preferred the latter. It’s just a better ecosystem. I prefer to invest my money in the innovators, not the imitators. Here are some of the latest specs, courtesy of Apple: “Apple® today announced iPhone® 5, the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever, completely redesigned to feature a stunning new 4-inch Retina™ display; an Apple-designed A6 chip for blazing fast performance; and ultrafast wireless technology*—all while delivering even better battery life.** iPhone 5 comes with iOS 6, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features including: the all new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography and turn-by-turn navigation; Facebook integration; Passbook® organization; and even more Siri® features and languages. “iPhone 5 is the most beautiful consumer device that we’ve ever created,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We’ve packed an amazing amount of innovation and advanced technology into a thin and light, jewel-like device with a stunning 4-inch Retina display, blazing fast A6 chip, ultrafast wireless, even longer battery life; and we think customers are going to love it.” iPhone 5 is the thinnest smartphone in the world, with an all-new 7.6 mm anodized aluminum body that is 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than iPhone 4S. Designed with an unprecedented level of precision, iPhone 5 combines an anodized aluminum body with diamond cut chamfered edges and glass inlays for a truly incredible fit and finish.”

* has a comprehensive review of the iPhone 5 here.

CruxSKUNK Case Converts iPad Into A Laptop. Details from our techno-geek buddies over at “The CruxSKUNK is a new case for the iPad, designed to make your device look and feel like a laptop. There are already plenty of iPad cases with keyboards built-in, but most of them look like standard cases, and do little to add style to the iPad itself. With this new case, however, you might actually confuse your iPad for your laptop.”


You Never Know What You’ll See On WeatherNation TV. Yes, we take the weather seriously 24/7 on KARE-11.2 and cable systems statewide, but we try not to take ourselves too seriously. It was a relatively quiet weather-day. That’s Rob Koch next to meteorologist Kristin Clark, the one with the new mohawk. Nice try Kristin.


Skunked By My Niece. Elizabeth caught a nice litlte walleye. Her clueless uncle? Nothing but weeds. Story of my life. There are fish up in Pelican Lake – I just haven’t been able to catch many…


Plenty to Sneeze At

Sneezing and wheezing, gurgling and sputtering – allergy-sufferers are not happy. Yesterday’s (rare) rain event helped to bring some of the pollen to the ground, but a deepening drought has set the stage for a rough season. Ragweed is in full bloom from mid-August until the first frost, which is probably 2-3 weeks away. In the meantime common sense applies: shut the windows, turn on the A/C, and shower immediately after spending time outside.

That strange, liquid-substance falling out the sky yesterday was “rain”. Roads were slick; oils can build up on highway surfaces; add a little rain or mist at the beginning of a storm or frontal passage and you can wind up fishtailing down the interstate.

No significant rain in sight for the next week. Skies clear; highs near 70 today and Friday. A south wind returns for the weekend, with highs approaching 80. Soak it up, because next week may feel more like October. The first flakes of autumn are possible over the North Shore of Lake Superior Monday night; an Alberta Clipper pushes even colder air into town late next week.

I suspect central and northern Minnesota will see their first frost within 10-14 days. Metro area? Early October.


Climate Stories…

Climate Change Will Extend Hay Fever Season By Six Weeks. Oh that’s just great. I’m liking the milder trends to some extent, but 6 more weeks of sneezing, wheezing and sniffling? Details from The Guardian and Mother Jones: “Hay fever sufferers face longer pollen seasons and highly allergenic new strains from invasive plants, a new report on the health effects of climate change on the UK warned on Tuesday. Global warming will cause earlier flowering, possibly extending the hay fever season by six weeks, and enable new species to grow in the UK. Pollen is also getting more potent, packing more allergen into each grain. The report, from the Health Protection Agency (HPA), analyses a wide range of risks including killer heatwaves, increased flooding, greater food poisoning and new infectious diseases carried by mosquitoes.”

Hot Graphics – Global Warming In Images. Here’s a snippet of a post that summarizes the global trends we’re witnessing in recent decades with excellent visuals and animations; from “..This NASA graphic impressively provides 131 years of temperature data in 26 seconds. “The global average surface temperature in 2011 was the ninth warmest since 1880, according to NASA scientists. The finding continues a trend in which nine of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record have occurred since the year 2000.  … The comparison shows how Earth continues to experience warmer temperatures than several decades ago. The average temperature around the globe in 2011 was 0.92 degrees F (0.51 C) warmer than the mid-20th century baseline.”

Extreme Weather & Climate Events: 2012. Here is a remarkable timeline summary of 2012: the warmest, and probably the most severe year in U.S. history, but an unusual number of extremes were witnessed worldwide. Check it out for yourself at

Heat: A Bridge To Climate Consensus? Huffington Post has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Excessive heat is becoming a public health threat, especially in cities. It leads to heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and is a catalyst for ground-level ozone creation as well as asthma and lung disease. However, and perhaps even more importantly, heat may be the bridge to climate consensus. While extreme heat is not climate change in itself, it amplifies the heat impacts of climate change — thus also amplifying the threats to human health. It therefore provides an opportunity that allows climate believers, agnostics, and deniers to work together to address a common threat to our society. Regardless of the motivations, dealing with extreme heat can help mitigate climate change, providing added benefits to society.”

Arctic Warning: As The System Changes, We Must Adjust Our Science. Here’s an excerpt from Climate Code Red: “The Arctic sea-ice big melt of 2012 “has taken us by surprise and we must adjust our understanding of the system and we must adjust our science and we must adjust our feelings for the nature around us”, according to Kim Holmen, Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) international director. From Svalbard (halfway between mainland Norway and Greenland), the BBC’s David Shukman reported on 7 September that Holmen had described the current melt rate “a greater change than we could even imagine 20 years ago, even 10 years ago”.

Photo credit above: “Northern Polar Institute Research Director Kim Holmen, left, with UN Foundation Board Chairman Ted Turner and President Timothy Wirth in the Arctic.”


Faking That NASA Faked The Moon Landing. More on conspiracy theories and a possible link to ongoing climate change denial from “Data integrity is a central issue in all research, and internet-based data collection poses a unique set of challenges. Much attention has been devoted to that issue and procedures have been developed to safeguard against abuse. There have been numerous demonstrations that internet platforms offers a reliable and replicable means of data collection, and the practice is now widely accepted. Nonetheless, each data set must be examined for outliers and “unusual” responses, and our recent paper on conspiracist ideation and the motivated rejection of science is no exception. Perhaps unsurprisingly, after various unfounded accusations against us have collapsed into smithereens, critics of our work have now set their sights on the data. It has been alleged that the responses to our survey were somehow “scammed,” thereby compromising our conclusions.”

Permafrost Thaw Will Speed Up Global Warming, Study Says. CBC News has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Permafrost soils in Canada’s Arctic are melting at a rate that will significantly speed up global warming, according to new research from the University of Victoria. The study, published this week in Nature Geoscience, predicts that the thawing permafrost will release between 68 billion and 508 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere by the year 2100. As a result of those carbon emissions, researchers say the Earth’s temperature will rise by more than 0.5 C by the end of the century.” Image above: NASA.



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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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