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Upside-Down Weather Map (Fairbanks warmer than L.A. – 2 hurricane strikes on USA coastline next 90 days?)

 

Perspective
“Any day you can drag yourself to the window and look outside is a GOOD DAY” my late grandfather liked to remind me. He was right. If your kids are healthy & you don’t have to forage for dinner how bad can it be?
I thought I was having a challenging year until I read about the travails of Erik Norrie who lives in the Tampa area. Recovering from a recent shark bite, Norrie went on to explain that he’s also been struck by lightning, bitten by a rattlesnake, and punched by monkeys (twice). Details below. I’m feeling better about my year.
You may be feeling luckier after checking out the 7-Day. Yesterday’s T-storms are long gone – a fresh transfusion of Canadian air across the Midwest will make it feel like mid-September today. Free A/C for everyone! Friday may be even cooler; highs in the 60s up north with a risk of sweatshirts.
I’m still cautiously optimistic about the weekend. Yes, it will fall on a Saturday and Sunday. Any other questions? A consensus of weather models keep most of the showers and T-storms south and west of Minnesota (although an instability PM shower may pop over the Minnesota Arrowhead). Highs hold in the 70s, with some 60s up north. Perfectly normal for the third week of September.
The Perseid Meteor Shower peaks this weekend. With less haze, great visibility (and no moon to compete with) your odds of seeing a lucky shooting star just went up.
* image credit above here.

Metro Damage Path. NOAA data shows the largest hail and strongest wind gusts (60-70 mph) from Independence and Lake Minnetonka to Eden Prairie, Edina to Apple Valley and Rosemount. There were numerous reports of downed trees and hail as large as 2-2.5″ in diameter.

Shelf Cloud. When you see a cloud formation like this I hope it’s on your way to the basement, or someplace safe. Meteorologist Todd Nelson snapped this photo at severe, straight-line winds were approaching the Albertville/St. Michael area.

Trees Down In St. Louis Park. Straight-line winds may have reached 60 mph+ as the first (supercell) storm swept through the metro around 6:30 to 7:30 PM. This is a photo from Bridget Brask in St. Louis Park, via Lori Ryan at WeatherNation TV.

Supercell. I took this photo in the Excelsior area around 6 PM as a severe storm was approaching Hennepin County.

1.75″ diameter hail reported at Bloomington and Eden Prairie. 2″ hail pelted Edina as the first wave of severe weather pushed thru. For the latest severe reports from the National Weather Service click here.

Quarter Size Hail. My friend and business partner, Todd Frostad, measured quarter-size hail at his home in Chanhassen.

Double Rainbow. WeatherNation TV meteorologist Todd Nelson captured this amazing double rainbow at his home in St. Michael after the severe storm rolled thru.

Extended Outlook. The GFS Outlook out to 192 hours shows a few waves of heavy showers and T-storms pushing across the northern USA in advance of Canadian cool frontal passages. The heaviest rains are forecast to fall from the Central Plains into the Ohio Valley. Another deja vu moment: the west coast stays dry.

Meteorological Disconnect: Fairbanks Warmer Than Los Angeles? These persistent north-south dips in the jet stream are resulting in some very odd weather for early August. The weather is bone-dry out west, but tropical downpours have been the rule since July for the Southeast and Mid Atlantic region. We check out some of these irregularities in today’s edition of Climate Matters: “WeatherNationTV Chief Meteorologist Paul Douglas looks at temperature swings from year to year, the connection between Alaskan warmth the lower 48 cold streak, as well as the positive impacts that increased rain has had across the US.”

Forecast: Two Hurricane Landfalls For U.S. This Season. Here’s a clip from a story atThe Jackson Sun: “The U.S. should be slammed by two hurricanes this season, according to a new forecast released Thursday by scientists at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C. This is the first forecast that predicts the specific number of hurricane landfalls the nation should see; up until now, preseason hurricane predictions have traditionally been only for the number of hurricanes that are expected to form. One of the hurricanes should hit the East Coast, and another somewhere along the Gulf Coast, reports atmospheric scientist Len Pietrafesa of CCU. The forecast does not say specifically where the hurricanes will hit, nor when…”

Image credit: “A satellite image shows Hurricane Floyd spinning off the East Coast in September, 1999.” AP Photo.

Hurricane Center Extends Its Tropical Outlook To Five Days. Track forecasts continue to improve over time. Intensity predictions are still more problematic. Here’s a clip from the Orlando Sentinel: “Thanks to steady improvement in its forecasting skills, the National Hurricane Center plans to tell us when a disturbance holds potential to grow into a storm — five days in advance. As of Thursday, the center plans to extend from two to five days its tropical weather outlook, found online at nhc.noaa.gov. It’s the first major change in that segment of the forecast in more than three decades. “We’re always looking to extend service when we can,” said James Franklin, the center’s top hurricane specialist. The current two-day outlook provides the odds of a disturbance developing into a depression or storm in both text and graphics. A low chance (0 percent to 20 percent) is displayed in yellow, a medium chance (30 percent to 50 percent) in orange and a high chance (60 percent and above) in red on the center’s main map...” (Image credit: NHC).

Twister Truths: Does The Tornado Risk Peak After The School Day Ends? Tornadoes are most likely, statistically, between 4-6 PM, during the maximum heating of the day, when the atmosphere is most unstable. In light of this year’s tornado tragedies in the Oklahoma City area StateImpact has put together the first part of a four-part series, produced by NPR. Here’s an excerpt of Part 1: “…Seven children died in the Plaza Towers Elementary School when the EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore on May 20, but Oklahoma policymakers — from Gov. Mary Fallin and Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood to local school officials — say a large-scale effort to build storm shelters at public schools, as other states have done, is unlikely. One of the main reasons, they say: Most tornadoes don’t happen during the school day. In other words, the tragedy at Plaza Towers was highly unusual. But is that claim true? State emergency management officials say they emphasize individual storm shelters because most tornadoes occur during times of the day when most Oklahomans are home from work and school. And local officials have used the “peak tornado times” reasoning to justify closing community storm shelters out of concern for keeping Oklahomans at home and off the road during severe weather...”

Photo credit above: Richard Rowe / Reuters/Landov. “A mile-wide tornado near El Reno, Okla. on May 31, 2013.”

A 45 Day Forecast? The models have (some) skill out 15 days or so, depending on the pattern, at least for precipitation and temperature for a specific point, but 45 days into the future? Sometimes we can detect trends, based on El Nino or La Nina, but a precise temperature/rainfall prediction for late September for a given town? Not possible, at least not with any demonstrable skill. Here’s a post from meteorologist Dan Satterfield at AGU Blogosphere: “AccuWeather announced today that they are now producing “revolutionary” 45 day weather forecasts. Yes, you read that right, and while the public in general has a rather low understanding of science, I don’t think most people are that gullible. My first thoughts were that it might be a way of getting some free advertising, but perhaps they’re really serious. Let me first be clear and tell you that synoptic weather forecasts are about 90% accurate out to 1 day, and are fairly accurate out to 5 days most of the time. Beyond 7 days the best forecast is to use is the 30 year averages…”

The Opposite Of Lucky. My heart goes out to this man, who has endured a spell of unimaginably bad luck, including a recent shark bite. But wait, there’s more. My Fox Tampa Bay has the head-shaking details; here’s an excerpt: “…The family said their prayers got them through the worst part of this ordeal and they are certain their strong faith will take them to whatever the next challenge ahead is. By the way, Norrie has also been struck by lightning, and his right leg has been bitten by a rattlesnake. He’s also been punched by monkeys twice, and now can claim that he’s survived a major shark bite…”

 * is it just me, but “punched by monkeys twice” made me a little weak in the knees. That may be the most remarkable sentence I’ve ever seen in print. After the first monkey mugging I think I’d get the message….

Climate Stories…


Investors See Climate Change As Risk That Influences DecisionsBloomberg.comhas the story – here’s the introduction: “Climate change remains a material risk for a majority of investors and, in many cases, it is increasingly influencing their investment activities, according to a report released Aug. 5 by a coalition of global investor groups. About 81 percent of asset owners and 68 percent of asset managers said they view climate change as a material risk across their entire investment portfolio in the third annual Global Investor Survey on Climate Change. Most of the remaining respondents identified climate risks only for certain asset classes, such as real estate and infrastructure. Climate change also had an impact on investment activities in 2012, with more than half of asset managers and almost a quarter of asset owners saying climate change concerns influenced their investment or divestment decisions…”

Photo credit above: “Flooded homes in Deggendorf, Germany on June 6, 2013. Riverside cities throughout Central Europe braced themselves, as rivers like the Danube and Elbe continued to surge. The region has been hit by inundations this week, following days of extreme rain, with some areas seeing flood levels not recorded in more than 500 years.” Photographer: Armin Weigel/EPA

A Methane Problem In Utah. A 9% leak of methane into the atmosphere from fracking wells? Anything over 2% means that fracking is (potentially) even dirtier than burning coal. That’s why the methane leakage problem is worth considering when pondering the question: “is hydraulic fracture cleaner than coal?” Here’s a clip from a story atmysanantonio.com: “Almost a tenth of the methane produced from oil and gas operations in a Utah site escapes into the atmosphere, according to a federally backed study published Monday. An analysis of the report from the Environmental Defense Fund called the emission rate “alarmingly high.” The study, which included researchers from theNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration among others, was published Monday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. It found that 9 percent of methane produced from drilling sites in a portion of Utah’s Uintah Basin escaped, said Colm Sweeney, one of the study’s main authors and a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo….”

Photo credit above: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times. “An oil rig operates in the Book Cliffs area, which is in the Uintah Basin. A federally backed study has found that 9 percent of methane produced from drilling sites in a portion of Utah’s Uintah Basin escaped into the atmosphere.”

Air Sampling Reveals High Emissions From Gas Fields. There’s a problem near Denver too. Here’s an excerpt from a PDF at The University of Texas: “When U.S. government scientists began sampling the air from a tower north of Denver, Colorado, they expected urban smog – but not strong whiffs of what looked like natural gas. They eventually linked the mysterious pollution to a nearby natural gas field, and their investigation has now produced the first hard evidence that the cleanest-burning fossil fuel might not be much better than coal when it comes to climate change…”

Image credit above: “Natural-gas operations in areas such as Wyoming’s Jonah Field could release far more methane into the atmosphere than previously thought.” J. SARTORE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STOCK

Public Sees A Connection Between Arctic Warming And Weather Here. There’s mounting evidence that rapid warming of far northern latitudes is, in fact, impacting lower latitudes, with possible changes in the speed and configuration of jet stream winds. Here’s an excerpt from fosters.com: “…Hamilton and Stampone used data from more than 1,500 random-sample telephone interviews conducted in 2012 and 2013 by the Granite State Poll. Recent scientific studies have reported that Arctic warming affects the weather farther south, changing the likelihood of extreme hot or cold events, unusual snowfall patterns, and drought. The UNH researchers explored public acceptance of such ideas by asking whether people believed that future Arctic warming will have major, minor, or no effects on the weather where they live. Sixty percent answered “major effects” and another 29 percent said “minor,” indicating wide public acceptance of the scientists’ Arctic/weather connection…”

New Technique For Turning Water And Sunshine Into Hydrogen FuelGizmag.comhas the story – here’s the intro: “A new technique developed by a University of Colorado Boulder team converts sunshine and water directly into usable fuel. The technique involves concentrating sunlight in a solar tower to achieve temperatures high enough to drive chemical reactions that split water into its constituent oxygen and hydrogen molecules. In this way, the team says it should be able to cheaply produce massive amounts of hydrogen fuel…”

Image credit above: “Artist’s conception of a commercial hydrogen production plant that uses sunlight to split water to produce clean hydrogen fuel.” (Image: University of Colorado Boulder).

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ABOUT ME

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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 startribune.com/weather And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

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