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Late Summer Heat Wave To Spread East (hurricane update – risk far from over for coastal USA)

Super-Sized Summer

It all makes sense, in a baffling, passive-aggressive way. There was grumbling over snow in early May, muttering about an “abbreviated summer”, one notable heat spike in early July, then 4 weeks of September-like chill into August, a rare mid-summer frost up in Embarrass.
Many people had mentally turned the page, convinced we were sliding inexorably into autumn. “The antithesis of 2012” a friend sighed.
Now that neon-yellow school buses are showing up on Doppler and mom’s shopping for winter clothing bargains, now it decides to heat up. Now we get the weather we should have seen in July.
More evidence that a manic Mother Nature needs to be medicated – we just keep flailing from one crazy extreme to the next.
The bloated heat bubble that has left much of the western USA drought-stricken and combustible will expand east, pulses of extreme heat lapping into Minnesota over the next 2 weeks, in fact some models show 90s spilling over into the first week of September.
A brief surge of comfortable air may set off a few strong/severe storms by evening but today’s weather mantra is easy to remember.

Slight Severe Storm Risk. The approach of cooler, much less humid air may destabilize the atmosphere enough for a squall line to form by afternoon, an outside chance of a few severe storms, especially south/east of MSP after 2 PM. Map: NOAA SPC.

Temporary Relief Northern USA – Hurricane Potential For Cabo? The NAM model shows a line of strong/severe storms popping over Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota later today, cooler air pushing into New England by Thursday. The tropics remain quiet, except for coastal Mexico – a potential for a tropical storm or hurricane approaching Cabo San Lucas by Friday.

July: 6th Warmest On Record Worldwide. Here’s an excerpt from a full report on July 2013 from NOAA NCDC: “According to NOAA scientists, the globally averaged temperature for July 2013 was the sixth highest July since record keeping began in 1880. It also marked the 37th consecutive July and 341st consecutive month (more than 28 years) with a globally averaged temperature above the 20th century average. The last below-average July temperature was July 1976 and the last below-average temperature for any month was February 1985. Many areas of the world experienced much warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, including northern South America, the western and northeastern United States, much of Africa, western and central Europe, parts of southern Asia, and most of Australia. Parts of the central and southeastern United States, small regions across northern Canada, eastern Greenland, and parts of Mongolia and eastern Siberia were cooler than average. Far northwestern Canada and part of the eastern United States were much cooler than their long-term averages…”

Quiet In The Atlantic, But For How Long? We’ve had 5 puny, fizzling tropical storms. The knee-jerk reaction might be to dismiss the rest of hurricane season, to lower your guard, but that would probably be premature. The peak of hurricane season is September 10, the date when a hurricane landfall is most likely on the U.S. coast, coinciding with peak water temperatures in the Atlantic and Caribbean. In today’s edition of Climate Matters we examine why we have yet to see a hurricane in the Atlantic, and what may be in store the rest of 2013: “We have already had 5 named storms in the Atlantic, but zero hurricanes. How does this compare to years past? And could predictions for a busy tropical season still pan out?  WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at the factors that have contributed to a quiet season so far and what could be in store as we approach the typical season peak.”

Uh Oh. Is The Hurricane Season Forecast A Bust? Here are some good points from Eric Berger at The Houston Chronicle: “As you may recall, back in June, nearly every seasonal hurricane forecaster under the sun predicted a busy season. NOAA even predicted a possibly “hyper-active” season. Since we’re now approaching the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, and such hyperactivity has yet to materialize, a number of readers have asked whether such seasonal forecasts might be considered a bust. My answer: Not yet. Herein I explain why.

So far there have been five named storms in the Atlantic basin this season, which is in fact ahead of what we normally would expect. During a typical Atlantic season the fifth named storm doesn’t form until Aug. 31. This would suggest prognostications of a busy season have come to pass….”
Graphic credit above: “The traditional peak of hurricane season is still three weeks away.” (NOAA)

NOAA: “70% Chance Of Above-Normal Hurricane Season”. Here’s an excerpt from a post at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center: “NOAA’s updated 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook continues to call for an above-normal season, with the possibility that the season could be very active. The outlook indicates a 70% chance of an above-normal season, a 25% chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5% chance for a below-normal season….Based on the current and expected conditions, combined with model forecasts, we estimate a 70% probability for each of the following ranges of activity for the entire 2013 Atlantic hurricane season:

* 13-19 Named Storms.

* 6-9 Hurricanes

* 3-5 Major Hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger)

* Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) range of 120% – 190% of the median.…”

File Photo above: Mike Theiss, National Geographic.

Hurricane Season: Forecasters Predict Rise In Activity. Here’s a clip “With the peak of the mid-Atlantic hurricane season underway, forecasters at the National Climate Prediction Center said we can expect an active hurricane season over the next few months, although slightly less intense than initially expected. The revised estimate calls for 13 to 19 named storms, which is down from the 13 to 20 storms forecast in May by the center. The bad news for the Mid-Atlantic: two of four named storms that have formed this season did so in the warm, open waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa – the region that produces some of the worst August and September storms for our region…”

Wildfire Clears Sun Valley Resort Region During Peak Tourist Season. Here’s an update on the massive blaze in Idaho from Skift: “A wildfire that has forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes in central Idaho roared largely unchecked into a 12th day on Monday near the ski resort of Sun Valley, even though fire crews launched a big offensive against the blaze at the weekend. Firefighters took advantage of calmer winds and higher humidity levels on Sunday to attack the flames aggressively, but still ended the day with containment lines carved around less than 10 percent of the blaze’s perimeter, fire officials said. The lightning-sparked fire has been raging since August 7 near Sun Valley and the adjacent tourist towns of Ketchum and Hailey. It has charred some 101,000 acres of parched sagebrush, grasslands and pine forests in the Sawtooth National Forest...”

Photo credit above: “A map of the fire outside Hailey, Idaho.” Jim Urquhart / Reuters.


Think You Work Too Much? Be Glad You Don’t Live In Singapore. Here’s a clip from a fascinating article at Business Insider. I’m starting to feel better about the number of hours I clock in every week: “How much work does the average American do each year compared to workers elsewhere in the world? The economics website FRED just added a bunch of new economic data which makes this question very easy to examine. As you can see, the average full-time American employee works right around 1,700 hours per year...”

The Immortality Financiers: The Billionaires Who Want To Live Forever. If you could live indefinitely, would you? I’d consider it if it included free cable TV (and no bills after the age of 150). Here’s a clip from a fascinating story at The Daily Beast: “Of all the things money can’t buy—love, happiness, time machines—immortality is one we sure pay a lot for. According to the market-research firm Global Industry Analysts, the anti-aging industry generates more than $80 billion per year. All this despite the fact that there are no proven ways of extending human lifespan. In the past decade, longevity research has become a legitimate academic pursuit for molecular biologists. Scientists are trying to untangle the basic mechanisms that underlie aging, and the idea is catching on that growing old isn’t just a fact of life but rather a disease that can be cured through medical interventions. Some of the biggest proponents of radical life extension also happen to be billionaires. There’s something about amassing more money than you can ever possibly use that naturally makes you hunger for ways to stay alive longer—if not forever…” (image above:
CBS, Time Warner Cable, And The Disruption Of TV. With online access and multiple new sources of content, television is going through a disruptive phase – it’s anyone’s guess what comes out the other end. Here’s a clip from a very good Ken Auletta article atThe New Yorker: “…What we’re witnessing are not the deliberate, calculated moves of two skilled chess players but, rather, two aging players who fear that their game is being disrupted. Thirty years ago, the traditional TV world was blindsided by cable; today, cable operators and traditional TV are both being blindsided by a new crop of technologies. The list of these technologies is long. You can subscribe to one of two direct-broadcast satellite systems, DirecTV or Dish Network. You can get TV along with a speedy Internet connection through Verizon’s FiOS. A.T. & T. also buys some programming. You can download or stream many television programs and movies via Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Apple, or Amazon. You can stream shows onto a video-game console. You can hook up to Google’s Chromecast, a small device that lets you beam content to your TV screen from other devices…”


Tesla’s Model S Electric Car Nabs Top U.S. Safety Rating. More from The Verge: “Tesla is announcing that its Model S scored top marks for safety according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), not only scoring a perfect five stars in every category, but setting a new record for the combined Vehicle Safety Score (VSS) — a total that can be higher than the five-star scores for top, side, and rear impact. The Model S scored 5.4, beating out previous record holders and for the first time making an electric vehicle the safest car on the road…”

Climate Stories….

Climate Leaks Are “Misleading” Says IPCC Ahead Of Major Report. Here’s an excerpt from a story at the BBC: “This massive tome will be published in four stages over the next year – the first part, the physical science behind climate change, will be presented in Stockholm on 26 September. The process of compiling this report, with several hundred scientists, 195 governments and over 100 non-governmental organisations involved has been particularly leaky, with at least three confidential draftsbeing made public in the last year. We’ve had 1,800 comments on that 15 page document” Jonathan Lynn IPCC. According to the latest scoop, the scientists are set to say they are more convinced than ever that global warming is caused by humans. They will say they are 95% certain that our use of fossil fuels is the main reason behind the global rise in temperatures since the 1950s…”

Scientists Turn To Melted Ice To Make Climate Change CaseBloomberg has an update on the forthcoming IPCC report – here’s a snippet: “A report from an international scientific team due next month will probably focus on a range of evidence that the Earth is warming rather than just changes in air temperature, according to a climate scientist who has seen drafts of parts of the study. The rate of polar ice melting, warming of oceans and the steady rise of sea levels all point to a planet heating up, said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist in the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He’s a reviewer for the forthcoming United Nations climate report. Some skeptics of man’s contribution to global warming have pointed to lapses in the rise of average temperatures as proof that the phenomenon isn’t taking place. Previous studies focused on changes in air temperature, according to Trenberth, who was the lead author of the 2001 and 2007 UN assessments…” (File photo: World Bulletin).

Update On Arctic Sea Ice. Although not as severe as 2012 (which set an all-time record), the decline in Arctic sea ice in 2013 is still significant. Here’s an update from NSIDC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center: “The sea ice retreat rate averaged from August 1 to 18 was near average at approximately 75,000 square kilometers (29,000 square miles) per day. However, satellite data show extensive low-concentration areas within the ice cover, which appear to have developed in response to the frequent passage of storm systems. These weather patterns also result in lower-than-average air temperatures over the Arctic. Temperatures in the central Arctic at the 925 hPa level have been 2 to 4 degrees Celsius (4 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit) below average since late July.”

Graphic credit above: “The graph above shows Arctic sea ice extent as of August 18, 2013, along with daily ice extent data for five previous years. 2013 is shown in blue, 2012 in green, 2011 in orange, 2010 in pink, 2009 in navy, and 2008 in purple. The 1981 to 2010 average is in dark gray. Sea Ice Index data.” Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

5 Terrifying Statements In The Leaked Climate Report. Here’s a clip from a story atMother Jones: “…In particular, here are five “holy crap” statements from the new draft report:
We’re on course to change the planet in a way “unprecedented in hundreds to thousands of years.” This is a general statement in the draft report about the consequences of continued greenhouse gas emissions “at or above current rates.” Unprecedented changes will sweep across planetary systems, ranging from sea level to the acidification of the ocean.
Ocean acidification is “virtually certain” to increase. Under all report scenarios, the acidification of the world’s oceans will increase—the draft report calls this outcome “virtually certain.” As we have previously reported, more acidity “threatens the survival of entire ecosystems from phytoplankton to coral reefs, and from Antarctic systems reliant on sea urchins to many human food webs dependent on everything from oysters to salmon…”

Photo credit above: “In the long run, global sea level rise could easily exceed 5 meters.”

Population Plus Climate: Why Coastal Cities Will Face Increased Risks From Floods. When it comes to the rate of sea level increase we are (literally) in uncharted waters, as pointed out in this article at Time. Here’s a clip: “…For coastal cities like New York, Hurricane Sandy was a coming attraction for what is likely to be a very wet and destructive future. According to leaked drafts of the forthcoming new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists believe that sea level could rise by more than three feet by the end of the century is carbon emissions keep growing at a runaway pace. And a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change laid out the enormous flood losses that major coastal cities could face in the future. Average global flood losses could rise from approximately $6 billion per year in 2005 to $60 to $63 billion per year by 2050, thanks to population and economic growth along the coasts and the multiplying effect of climate change-driven sea level rise. As Robert Nicholls, a professor of coastal engineering at the University of Southampton in Britain and a co-author of the study, put it in a statement: “There is a pressing need to start planning how to manage flood risk now….”

Gorgeous Glimpses Of Calamity. Here’s a snippet from a well-written story about Earth observations from space – we can now track, in real-time, the impacts we’re having on our planet. Details at The New York Times: “…President Obama should invite world leaders to an emergency conclave in Washington as early as possible and challenge China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and other major greenhouse-gas emitters to equal or exceed the percentage reductions he seeks for the United States. He should also try to rally the nation and globe in support of an international Manhattan Project, in which the best scientific minds would devise carbon-sequestration technologies that could clean the air of the heating elements we’ve put there — rather than simply seeking to limit the damage. Having constructed a civilization capable of observing our still paradisiacal world from objectivity-inducing distances, we need to set aside our squabbles, recognize that we face a species-wide threat, and use our scientific-technical genius to protect the only known home of life in the universe.”

Photo credit above: July 17 and Aug. 3, 2012: “Ice and snow melted with extraordinary speed in the Northwest Passage in Canada’s Parry Channel, a link in the long-sought northern route for ship traffic between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Twice in the last decade, the entire route has become clear of ice. These images were taken with NASA’s Terra satellite.” Jesse Allen, Lance system/NASA Earth Observatory.

Arctic Warming And Our Extreme Weather: No Clear Link New Study Finds. Most of the changes we’ve witnessed (in extremes) have been in the last 3-5 years – it’s largely anecdotal and far from conclusive, but I still suspect rapid warming in the Arctic is having a domino effect at mid latitudes. Time will tell if science can prove this possible link. Here’s an update on a new research paper from The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang: “Is the dramatic decline of Arctic sea ice, spurred by manmade global warming, making the  weather where we live more extreme?  Several recent studies have made this claim. But a new study finds little evidence to support the idea that the plummeting Arctic sea ice has meaningfully changed our weather patterns.  The research, published today inGeophysical Research Letters, says links between declining Arctic sea ice and extreme weather are “an artifact of the methodology” and not real. Earlier work, suggesting a connection between the disintegrating Arctic ice and weather mania in the mid-latitudes, is intriguing.  It is based on the idea that the jet stream – the river of high altitude winds that steers our storms and positions cold snaps and heat waves – is slowing down and weakening due to a pronounced warming in the Arctic compared to other places, a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. Rather than zipping right along a straight path, a more listless jet stream is now prone to straying so the theory goes…”

Graphic credit above: “Arctic sea ice minimum 1980 vs. 2012.” (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

2 responses to “Late Summer Heat Wave To Spread East (hurricane update – risk far from over for coastal USA)

  1. Native Mpls. Tromped around the states, now I’m back to settle. Looked over ALL weather sites and tried them on for a while giving them a firm test. For me, yours has all I want. I appreciated your global weather news VERY MUCH! And, last but not least, your humorous comments and analysis gets my chuckle….as you did when you were the local weatherman!!!

    I do have the WN TV channel, and haven’t really tuned in there much. I was wondering IF and WHAT TIME you are on it as a
    weather reporter? I figured you don’t do that anymore. But, if you do maybe post on your blog – when is “show-time”!
    You old MN friend!
    Toni (now in North Branch, MN)

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