All Weather News

New England Jackets – Midwest “Heat Spike” (remembering America’s deadliest storm: 1900 Galveston Hurricane)

Another “Heat Spike”
Who has endured more 90-degree days this year, residents of Atlanta or the Twin Cities? If you guessed MSP you are correct. We’ve seen 18 days at or above 90F compared with 17 at ATL. Odd. The heat usually builds gradually, but every now and then we see a sudden hot spike, a fast-forward northward surge of soul-sapping heat.

We went from a high of 72F May 13 to 98F May 14 (hottest day of the year so far). We’ll go from mid-70s yesterday to mid-90s today; a 1 in 3 shot at 100F from the far south metro to the Iowa border. Heat Advisories are posted – it may feel like 100-104F by late afternoon. I’m tempted to cool off in “Hot-lanta”. A few T-storms can’t be ruled out, especially over central and northern counties, but it probably won’t be the sustained soaking we need to put a serious dent in the drought.
And yes, Sunday’s forecast was a bust. A dud. A real stinker.
A stormy swirl held together as it pushed out of the Dakotas, producing significant rain up north; just enough sprinkles to settle the dust in the metro. With most of Minnesota in moderate to severe drought it’s hard to get indignant about any rain, even on a Sunday.
HAMweather Heat Advisory Map
Tropical. Forget September and even August. Today will feel like something out of mid-July, with highs in the mid to upper 90s over much of southern Minnesota, prompting a Heat Advisory. A swarm of strong T-storms may drop enough rain in a short period of time for flash flooding in the Red River Valley. Map: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Beastly-Hot. Models are consistent bring a surge of desert-heat (and tropical dew points) into southern and central Minnesota later today. The only complication: morning convection. If T-storms do push across the state during the morning or midday it will delay the “hot prod”, which would mean low to mid 90s, keeping us a few degrees cooler than we would be otherwise. But even if that happens dew points will be higher, so the heat index may be nearly as high (topping 100 by mid-afternoon). 4 pm NAM forecast above courtesy of Ham Weather.
Atmospheric Wild Card. Today’s surge of super-heated air may set off scattered T-storms, with a chance of an MCS system, a swarm of strong to severe storms capable of frequent lightning and very heavy rain – something you’d expect to see in June, not the 9th day of September. HRRR model data shows a potential for some 1″ rains close to the metro, with a few inches over the Dakotas. I hope this 3 km, 15 hour accumulated rainfall prediction pans out. Map above: Ham Weather.
Welcome Rain? 12 km. NAM guidance shows a potential for T-storms today, especially central and northern Minnesota, but storms may brush the MSP metro area. The sun should be out by afternoon as temperatures soar into the 90s. The arrival of slightly cooler air may prolong our shower and thunder (opportunity) into a portion of Tuesday. Animation sequence: NOAA and Ham Weather.
Big Swings. A few models are predicting 100-degree heat today, which may still happen IF T-storms fail to develop and the sun is out most of the day, with southwest winds at 15-25. Relief is brewing; highs in the upper 60s to near 70 from Thursday into Sunday. Keep shorts and sweatshirts in your closet until further notice. Graph: Iowa State.

A Chilled Big Apple. Residents of New England are digging out their jackets and sweatshirts, buzzing about “an early autumn”. Right. A far cry from the central USA. The New York office of the NWS is predicting wake-up temperatures in the low and mid 40s away from the city and coast.

The Galveston Hurricane Of 1900. The anniversary was yesterday – as much as I want to believe that satellites, Doppler and supercomputers have lessened the risk of a catastrophe of this scale, there’s no reason for complacency when it comes to major hurricanes approaching heavily populated areas. Here’s a clip from NOAA’s National Ocean Service: “In the summer of 1900, Galveston, Texas, was a thriving commercial city perched on a low-lying barrier island between the Gulf of Mexico and the Texas mainland. It was an economic boom-town, a major port with over 40,000 inhabitants.  End-of-summer tourists flocked to the wide beaches with sweeping vistas of the Gulf of Mexico. But on September 8, 1900, a horrific hurricane slammed into the city. Wind speeds surpassed 135 miles per hour, making it a category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Storm surges rose 15 feet and, within hours, estimates of 6,000 to 12,000 unwary people were killed and over 3,600 buildings were destroyed. The Galveston Hurricane remains the deadliest natural disaster in United States history. Although Galveston was rebuilt, it never reestablished itself as the major port of call it once was. The city was soon overshadowed by Houston, some miles inland and connected to the Gulf of Mexico by a canal…”
Photo credit above: “A view of the devastation caused by the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The destruction wrought by the hurricane brought forth a new focus on the study of hurricane prediction.” (Library of Congress) 

The Great Galveston Hurricane Of 1900. This is still the greatest loss of U.S. lives from a single storm. NOAA Magazine has a slightly different perspective recapping this amazing display of hubris and nature at its worst; here’s a clip: “…By the turn of the century, Galveston’s population approached 40,000 and it seemed destined to become one of the biggest and most important cities along the Gulf Coast. Destiny, however, can be a capricious mistress, a fact that would become painfully clear on September 8, 1900. On that fateful day, the Great Galveston Hurricane roared ashore, devastating the island city with winds of 130 to 140 miles per hour and a storm surge in excess of 15 feet. When its fury finally abated, at least 8,000 people were dead, 3,600 buildings were destroyed, and damage estimates exceeded $20 million ($700 million in today’s dollars). To this day, the 1900 Galveston hurricane remains the deadliest natural disaster in the nation’s history...”


Rim Fire From Space. Tracking two fires from space, one fairly modest just east of the Bay Area, the plume from the Rim Fire at Yosemite still massive. Here’s a tweet from The San Francisco Bay Area National Weather Service and

Scientists Assess Damage From Yosemite-Area Fire. Here’s the latest “Scientists are assessing the damage from a massive wildfire burning around Yosemite National Park, laying plans to protect habitat and waterways as the fall rainy season approaches. Members of the federal Burned Area Emergency Response team were hiking the rugged Sierra Nevada terrain Saturday even as thousands of firefighters still were battling the four-week-old blaze, now the third-largest wildfire in modern California history. Federal officials have amassed a team of 50 scientists, more than twice what is usually deployed to assess wildfire damage. With so many people assigned to the job, they hope to have a preliminary report ready in two weeks so remediation can start before the first storms, Alex Janicki, the Stanislaus National Forest BAER response coordinator, said…”

Photo credit above: “In this photo provided by the U.S. Forest Service, members of the Horseshoe Meadow Interagency Hotshot Crew, from Miramonte, Calif., walk near a controlled burn operation as they fight the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park in California Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013. The massive wildfire is now 75 percent contained according to a state fire spokesman.” (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Mike McMillan).


Rim Fire Plume. Here’s a high-resolution of the smoke plume from the Yosemite Rim Fire, the 3rd largest in California history, from and Twitter.

The World’s Worst Weather! Yes, the summit of Mt. Washington, New Hampshire is certainly in the running for that great honor. It makes Minnesota look like Club Med. I grabbed this image Sunday evening, when the air temperature at the Weather Observatory was a crisp 27F with sustained winds of 45.5 mph, creating a chill factor of +8F. Lovely.


Chronic Exposure To Air Pollution Linked With Heart Disease, Lung Cancer. Here’s an excerpt from a story at Nature World News: “Researchers have found that long-time exposure to ozone, a greenhouse gas prevalent in urban areas, can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and colleagues who also found a strong association between nitrogen dioxide and an increased risk of death from lung cancer. This isn’t the first study to link health complications withrising levels of air pollution; a related study had found that annually two million people die due to air pollution. Previous research by scientists at MIT also found that more people in the U.K. die from air pollution than road accidents. This study appeared in the journal Environment Science and Technology...”Photo credit above: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson.

26 Maps That Show How Ethnic Groups Are Divided Across America. This was interesting – a clip from a story at Business Insider: “The United States may be a melting pot, but many ancestry groups still stick together. Take German-Americans, the country’s largest ancestry group with 49 million members. While they make up more than 30% of the population in the Midwest, they account for less than 10% of the population in the Deep South and California….Maps of the largest ancestry and racial groups in America based on the American Community Survey can be found in a book called “Ancestry & Ethnicity in America.” With permission from Grey House Publishing, we’re posting them here...”


Our Cultural Addiction To Phones, In One Disconcerting Video. Yes, this hits close to home. From concerts to birthday parties to a simple sunset – it’s hard for some of us to just experience something (nice). We feel like we have to capture it on our “smartphones”, memorialize it – immortalize it. So much for living in the moment. Here’s a great video from NPR: “The cultural shift is complete. We’re all just alone with our smartphones, even when we’re surrounded by other humans. The extent of our obsession with capturing every moment instead of merely just experiencing them is highlighted in the viral short film, . It’s now at nearly 20 million views and if you haven’t seen it, you must have gone without your phone too long. — who wrote and stars in the film — shows scenes that can hit too close to home, saying something about how we often use technology at the expense of forging real, human connections…”

Climate Stories…

In California, Silent Water War Fought Underground As Farms And Cities Compete For Groundwater. One of the big environmental themes of the 21st century will be access to clear, reliable water supplies, especially over the western half of the USA. Here’s an excerpt from a story at The Washington Post: “…Fresno is just one player in a water war that’s quietly being fought underground. Throughout the Central Valley — one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions — farmers, residents and cities have seen their wells go dry. Those who can afford it have drilled deeper wells that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Experts say water supplies have been strained by growing city populations and massive tracts of newly planted orchards and vineyards. “Water levels are dropping dramatically in some areas. It’s never been this bad,” said Steve Arthur, vice president of Arthur and Orum Well Drilling…”Image credit: ThinkStock.

Climate Change Will Turn Greenland Green. Talk about the first original case of false advertising: “Green Land”? Right. Here’s an excerpt from a story at Smithsonian andSalon: “…According to the Icelandic Sagas, Eric the Red–exiled from Iceland for the crime of murder–stumbled upon Greenland’s glacial shores in the late 10th century. Though “Coldland” or “Snowyland” would have been more apt, he dubbed the place “Grœnland” in the hopes of luring settlers to the remote outpost with the promise of bountiful forests and fields. Eric the Red’s false advertising, however, may become more appropriate in the not-too-distant future, an international team of researchers report in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Climate change is quickly converting once-frozen tracts into potentially hospitable places for trees and shrubs. In some parts of the country, pieces of land have already opened up and only await a few chance seeds to blow in and begin the process of converting the rugged landscape into lush forest….”Photo credit: AP/Brennan Linsley.

Climate Change Leaves Hare Wearing The Wrong Colors. Snow is on the ground for less of the year in the Rockies, and that has implications, as explained in this NPR story– here’s a clip: “The effects of climate change often happen on a large scale, like drought or a rise in sea level. In the hills outside Missoula, Mont., wildlife biologists are looking at a change to something very small: the snowshoe hare. Life as snowshoe hare is pretty stressful. For one, almost everything in the forest wants to eat you. Alex Kumar, a graduate student at the University of Montana, lists the animals that are hungry for hares. “Lynx, foxes, coyotes, raptors, birds of prey. Interestingly enough, young hares, their main predator is actually red squirrels…”

Photo credit above: “A white snowshoe hare against a brown background makes the animal easy prey.” L.S. Mills Research Photo.



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. Required fields are marked *