All Weather News

Flooding & Rare Seattle Tornado Pacific Northwest – Biggest Midwestern Storm In 5 Months Brewing

Biggest Upper Midwest Storm In 5 Months? The animation above shows predicted air pressure and 10 meter wind speeds into Tuesday morning of next week. Watch a major storm spin up over the Upper Midwest by late week, some 30-50 mph winds possible over the Dakotas. Loop: NOAA GFS data and Ham Weather.

“Extraordinary” Pacific Storms Shatter Records In Northwest; Tornado Near Seattle.There’s a headline you don’t see very often – meteorologist Jason Samenow has the details at The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang; here’s the intro: “Since Saturday, a series of storms has battered the Pacific Northwest bringing record rainfall, damaging winds and, today, a rare September tornado near Seattle. The storminess has been embedded within what’s described as “an atmospheric river” – where a long ribbon of deep moisture streams across the Pacific. The National Weather Service calls today’s storm “extraordinary for late September” and “much more like a November storm”….

Image credit above: “Water vapor image of storm.” (Cliff Mass Weather Blog).

Is Living With Extreme Wildfires The New Normal? NPR tackles the subject – here’s an excerpt of a recent story: “It has been a deadly year for the people who fight wildfires. In total, 32 people have lost their lives fighting fires in 2013; the highest number in nearly 20 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Just one incident accounts for most of those deaths, the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. In June, the blaze blasted through a firefighting crew known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots; 19 of the 20 men died. As people move farther into wildland areas and climate change turns landscapes into tinder, experts say the wildfire danger around the country will likely only grow. But there may be a lesson to learn from how the U.S. stifled an earlier fire crisis in urban settings..”

Photo credit above: “A wildfire in burns Prescott, Ariz., on June 18. The fire would eventually take the lives of 19 firefighters in an area near Yarnell.” Todd Tamcsin/AP Photo/American Red Cross.

Premature Mortality Due To Air Pollution. We take clean air for granted – but we shouldn’t. Here’s an excerpt of an article at NASA’s Earth Observatory: “Occasionally, short-term meteorological conditions merge with ongoing human emissions to produce extreme outbreaks of air pollution. In January 2013, a blanket of industrial pollutionenveloped northeastern China. In June 2013, smoke from agricultural fires in Sumatraengulfed Singapore. In most cases, the most toxic pollution lingers for a few days or even weeks, bringing increases in respiratory and cardiac health problems at hospitals. Eventually the weather breaks, the air clears, and memories of foul air begin to fade. But that’s not to say that the health risks disappear as well. Even slightly elevated levels of air pollution can have a significant effect on human health. Over long periods and on a global scale, such impacts can add up. But exactly how much exposure to air pollution do people around the world get? And how much health damage is it causing? Since there are gaps in networks of ground sensors, University of North Carolina earth scientist Jason West is leading an effort to answer those questions using computer models that simulate the atmosphere…”Image above:

Monitoring The Tropics. It’s still unusually quiet in the Atlantic and Caribbean, but we’re keeping an eye on “Invest 97” for possible intensification in the coming days. Graphic above courtesy of the Tallahassee office of the National Weather Service.

NOAA Puts 170 Years Of Hurricane History Into One Interactive SiteGCN Pulse has an interesting article with links to near hurricane climatology resources; here’s an excerpt: “Hurricanes are never good news, but they do make history. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has put a lot of that history in one place, with its Historical Hurricane Tracks website,  which puts more than 170 years of global hurricane data into an interactive map. The site serves up data on global hurricanes as they made landfall going back to 1842, long before hurricanes were given names, and provides links to information on tropical cyclones in the United States since 1958, and other U.S. storms dating back to 1851. The most recent addition to the site provides details on last year’s Hurricane Sandy. Visitors to the site can search by location, storm name or ocean basin and select the search area  (by nautical miles, statute miles or kilometers). Selecting Miami, for example, will display  a map on south Florida criss-crossed by the tracks of many a hurricane…”

Easily Obtained Subpoenas Turn Your Personal Information Against You. Careful what you post on FB, Twitter and store on your (allegedly) smart phone. Here’s an eye-opening report from NPR and The Center for Investigative Reporting: “For some, revelations that the National Security Agency has been collecting vast amounts of personal information on U.S. citizens might seem as far removed as the city of Moscow. But it’s not just an ultrasecret spy agency that can create a dossier on you. Many Americans would be surprised by how easily local law enforcement, IRS investigators, the FBI and private attorneys can reach into the vast pool of personal information about their lives with little more than a subpoena, which no judge needs to review. And it’s not just for selling you more products or services. It can be wielded against you…”

Inside The Fall Of Blackberry: How The Smartphone Inventor Failed To Adapt. Innovate or die, right? Anyone in the tech industry (or any business for that matter) needs to be perpetually paranoid, pushing the envelope, as this excerpt from a fascinating story at The Globe And Mail confirms: “This investigative report reveals that:

  • Shortly after the release of the first iPhone, Verizon asked BlackBerry to create a touchscreen “iPhone killer.” But the result was a flop, so Verizon turned to Motorola and Google instead.
  • In 2012, one-time co-CEO Jim Balsillie quit the board and cut all ties to BlackBerry in protest after his plan to shift focus to instant-messaging software, which had been opposed by founder Mike Lazaridis, was killed by current CEO Thorsten Heins...

Image above:

Twitter Founder Reveals Secret Formula For Getting Rich Online. Here’s one guy who cracked the magic code. Wired has an intriguing article – here’s a clip: “…The bottom line, Williams said, is that the internet is “a giant machine designed to give people what they want.” It’s not a utopia. It’s not magical. It’s simply an engine of convenience. Those who can tune that engine well — who solve basic human problems with greater speed and simplicity than those who came before — will profit immensely. Those who lose sight of basic human needs — who want to give people the next great idea — will have problems. “We often think of the internet enables you to do new things,” Williams said. “But people just want to do the same things they’ve always done….”

A Youthful Glow, Radiating From Within. We all want to look younger – and now comes research that may trouble plastic surgeons around the world. Here’s an excerpt from The New York Times: “…True youthfulness — or, I should say, appearing younger than your age — is much more than skin-deep. Research has shown that youthfulness must come from within. In one study, a team at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland analyzed the facial photographs of 186 pairs of identical twins, determining which sibling looked older and why. Factors that contributed to looking older included smoking, sun exposure, stress, and depression (or the use of antidepressants), the researchers reported. Other studies have linked depression to higher levels of inflammatory markers and oxidative stress, which can accelerate aging…”

* image above:

Climate Stories…


IPCC: Climate Change Report Highlights. Alarmist hype? Part of me hopes so, the other part of me shudders thinking about the implications of ignoring 97% of the world’s leading climate scientists because we may not care for the message. In today’s edition ofClimate Matters we take a look at some of the highlights of Friday’s report: “For the 5th time in 23 years, the world’s leading climate scientists have released an update on the state of the climate. WeatherNation Chief Meteorologist reviews the highlights plus shares the panel’s predictions for the rest of the century.” Here’s a link for more information:

Latest AR5 IPCC Summary As A “Word Cloud”. Compliments of Leo Hickman andTwitter.

CO2 Reshaping The Planet, Meta-Analysis Confirms. Here’s the intro to a story from Stephen Leahy at Inter Press Service: “Greenland will eventually truly become green as most of its massive ice sheet is destined to melt, the authoritative U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported Friday. The IPCC’s new 36-page summary of the latest science includes a warning that there is a 20-percent chance the massive Greenland ice sheet will begin an irreversible meltdown with only 0.2 degrees C of additional warming. That amount of additional warming is now certain. However, it would take 1,000 years for all the ice to melt. “The new report is yet another wake-up call saying we are in deep trouble and heading for dangerous levels of climate change,” said David Cadman, president of ICLEI , the only network of sustainable cities operating worldwide and involving  1,200 local governments. “The IPCC will be attacked by fossil fuel interests and their supporters….They will try and scare the public that taking action puts jobs and the economy at risk,” Cadman told IPS. “That’s simply not true. It’s the opposite…”

Photo credit above: “The melting of Mexico’s Orizaba glacier is another consequence of global warming.” Credit: Mauricio Ramos/IPS.

Reporting On Climate Change, “The Mother Of All Risks”. Here’s an excerpt fromMedia Matters: “After reviewing the latest evidence from a major climate change report — released in full on Monday — the prominent consulting group PricewaterhouseCoopersconcluded that climate change is the “mother of all risks.” But while many businesses recognize climate risks, the media often cloud these risks by framing climate change in terms of “uncertainty,” according to a recent study. This can lead to a disconnect between scientific understanding and public perception, and a misguided contentment with inaction…”

* the IPCC Final Draft is here, all 2,000+ pages of it.

Frackers Guzzle Water As Texas Goes ThirstyTime Magazine has the story – here’s an excerpt: “…Similar fights could soon happen almost anyplace where fracking operations are growing and water is scarce. Fracking giant Schlumberger estimates there will be a million new wells drilled around the world in the next 20 years. The fracking process pumps large amounts of pressurized water deep into the earth to dislodge oil and gas deposits. The amount of water needed varies, depending on the geology of the formation, but the average South Texas well takes some four to six million gallons of water over a period of several days as the rock formations are fractured, according to an industry source. Fracking companies point out that their industry consumes only 1% of all the fresh water usage in Texas, less than suburbia or agriculture. But drilling is using up water in some of the state’s driest areas, like Dimmit County. “We have a ticking time bomb,” Fitzsimmons says. Given the falling levels of the aquifer, it would take “a flood of Biblical proportions,” he says, to recharge the county’s water reserves…”

Photo credit above: Christopher Sherman – AP. “Farmers in South Texas are struggling with uneven crops and some that never emerged as the Rio Grande Valley suffers through its driest stretch ever recorded.”

Obtaining 25% Of Energy From Renewables Would Save Billions. This is when we’ll go over the top, when people realize they can save money while simultaneously cleaning up the environment and lowering GHG emissions into the atmosphere. A pipedream? Iowa currently gets about 25% of it’s electricity from wind power. Here’s a clip fromthe American Wind Energy Association and Clean Technica: “The Western U.S. could reap huge benefits in pollution savings and reduced spending on fossil fuels by installing more wind and solar power plants, according to a comprehensive new analysis released today by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The study found that obtaining 25% of electricity in the Western U.S. from renewable energy will reduce carbon dioxide pollution by up to 34% and save $7 billion annually in fossil fuel costs…” (Image: Clean Technica).

Can Solar Power Be Cheap? What further technological breakthroughs are necessary to scale solar power to the point where everyone will want (free) energy from the sun?Scientific American has the story – here’s an excerpt: “Fact 1: The primary ingredient of most solar panels is purified sand. Fact 2: Enough sunlight hits the Earth in an hour toprovide all of humanity’s energy needs for a year. So why isn’t solar power cheap and abundant? For starters, building a device capable of turning incoming photons into electricity isn’t cheap. Add in installation and the cost of a solar system can still be more than $10 per watt of electricity produced. That’s much higher than the cost per watt from burning coal or natural gas. It’s going to take further technological breakthroughs to make photovoltaics cheaper. That’s the conclusion of a report from Lux Research, a firm that advises emerging technologies…” (Photo: Wikipedia).
The Western U.S. could reap huge benefits in pollution savings and reduced spending on fossil fuels by installing more wind and solar power plants, according to a comprehensive new analysis released today by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The study found that obtaining 25 percent of electricity in the Western U.S. from renewable energy will reduce carbon dioxide pollution by up to 34 percent and save $7 billion annually in fossil fuel costs.
The NREL report also conclusively puts to rest the fossil fuel industry myth that wind energy’s pollution savings are smaller than expected because fossil-fired power plants run at lower efficiency when wind is generating electricity.Read more at

Sting In The Tail: Climate Change’s Risks Aren’t Like Wall Street’s. Here’s a clip from a very interesting perspective from Business Standard: “Climate change tail risks, including ones cited in a closely watched report on global warming, aren’t like Wall Street‘s. As with traders and bank risk managers, researchers rely on complex models to assess the chances of bad outcomes. The incentives are different, though. Dire predictions can be more rewarding for scientists. That’s the reason to focus on the new baseline forecasts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which are now less alarming. The 800 authors of the study released on Friday say rising temperatures on the planet are “unequivocal” and that it is at least 95 per cent probable human influence has been the dominant cause for more than a half century. The 2007 edition found that likelihood to be 90 per cent and, in 2001, it was only 66 per cent….” (Photo: The Energy Collective).

Have You Seen A Psychologist About Global Warming Lately? National Journal has the article; here’s a clip: “If only we could find a couch big enough to fit the entire human species, we could talk through what within our minds is preventing us from acting more aggressively on global warming. Buried within fights over the science, economy, environment, extreme weather, politics, and lobbying is a debate about how psychological traits ingrained in the basic human condition are preventing people from supporting more action on global warming, despite the fact that most scientists agree it’s only going to get worse unless humankind makes a concerted effort to take major action soon. Indeed, a United Nations report released Friday confirms with more certainty than ever (95 percent) what most scientists already know: that humans, chiefly through our use of coal, oil, and natural gas, are the key cause of the planet’s temperature rise…”

Photo credit above: “Sunstein: We need mind over matter.” (AP Photo).



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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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