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Venice, Italy Tornado…Fastest Warming States in the USA

El Nino Watch issued by CPC, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, meaning a significant probability of a warm phase of the Pacific within 6 months. Details below from Bloomberg.

122 tornadoes touched down on America in May, fewest since accurate records began in 1954. Details below. Photo: NOAA.

0 tornado-related fatalities across the USA in May.

Tornadoes In Unusual Places: Venice, ItalyThe Telegraph has more details (and amazing video) from the freakish tornado that swept across Venice on Tuesday: “The tornado roared through Sant’Erasmo island in Venice’s lagoon on Tuesday, ripping the roofs off at least 12 buildings, media reports said. A funnel cloud was clearly visible from the centre of the town and from its canals, Youreporter and Venice Municipality video showed. The tornado caused major damage in several islands off the Venice lagoon, including Sant’Elena and Certosa islands, where many trees were uprooted, reports said. Dozens of small sailing ships were smashed in the port of Sant’Elena. No injuries were reported, the Municipality of Venice said.”

Record and near-record warmth dominated the eastern two-thirds of the nation during spring,” according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) report. “Thirty-one states were record warm for the season. Only Oregon and Washington had spring temperatures near normal.” – from a USA Today article; details below.

2.7% of America’s electricity came from renewable sources in 2011. Details below.

$257 billion: amount of money spent on renewable energy worldwide in 2011, a new record. Solar made up over half of that amount, according to a Washington Post article; full details below.

In the long run, we found what most fear – increasing fire activity across large areas of the planet,” lead author Max Moritz of the University of California-Berkeley.” – from a Chicago Tribune/Reuters story below.

Photo credit: “Art and Carrol Newburn watch from Glacier View Meadows as the High Park fire burns west of Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. The fire has now burned more than 40,000 acres, encompassing more than 65 square miles.” (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Aaron Ontiveroz).

27 days above 100 F. so far this year in Phoenix. During an average year Phoenix experiences 109 days above 100!

2.13″ rain in Charleston, South Carolina Tuesday, a new all-time rainfall record for June 12.

Minnesota: 3rd Fastest Warming State In America. No, you’re not imagining it – despite what the “denialists” would like you to believe, it really is getting warmer out there – especially winter months, at night. Climate Central has the details.

May Warmth Helps Shatter Spring Temperature has the story: “According to data released Thursday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. temperatures have been high enough to make it the warmest spring on record, the warmest year-to-date and the warmest 12-month period as well. “This warmth is an example of what we would expect to see more often in a warming world. Understanding that the United States and the rest of the planet are warming along with preparing for eventualities like this is one way our nation can become climate-smart,” Deke Arndt, chief of the climate monitoring branch, National Climatic Data Center says…

USA Had Warmest March – May On Record. Here’s an excerpt from a story atUSA Today: “The surreal heat that enveloped much of the USA this spring turned out to be the warmest ever recorded in U.S. history — by an eye-opening margin, scientists report. Coming on the heels of the fourth-warmest winter on record in the USA, nature and the economy were thrown off rhythm, as jobs, retail sales, crops and bugs sprouted outside their normal cycles. Though the calendar says we’re still in spring, climatologists define spring as the months of March, April and May; weather records go back to 1895.”

Week’s Worth Of Rain. NOAA has an interactive map that shows rain for the last 24 hours, the last week, or a year into the past.

U.S. Issues El Nino Watch That May Affect Atlantic Storms. El Nino warming phases of the Pacific correlate with milder, drier winters for Minnesota – too early to panic (or celebrate). Details from Bloomberg: “An El Nino may form in the Pacific Ocean within six months, potentially crimping the number of Atlantic hurricanes while bringing rain to the drought-stricken U.S. South and drier weather in Asia. An El Nino watch was issued by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland, today because “there is a 50 percent chance” that the central Pacific will warm before the end of the year. The formation of an El Nino, a warming of the Pacific, can have major impact on U.S. weather and on energy and agriculture markets. The most immediate would be on the Atlantic hurricane season, which can produce threats to orange crops in Florida, the second-largest producer behind Brazil, and to energy production in the Gulf of Mexico.”

* full details from CPC about the likelihood of an El Nino pattern returning to equatorial Pacific waters is here.

Colorado Wildfire: Denver TV Stations Clash With Larimer Officials On Fire Coverage. Here’s a snippet of a fascinating article at The Denver Post: “Denver TV stations delivered extended coverage of the ongoing, fast-moving High Park Fire through the weekend as flames raged over nearly 37,000 acres and damaged or destroyed an estimated 100 structures. Reports of evacuations and the weather dominated the coverage, with stunning aerial and ground footage of the flames. At times the journalistic imperative to deliver news clashed with authorities’ efforts to control the flow of information. On Monday, the Larimer County Sherriff’s Office issued a request to the media not to show photos of destroyed homes out of respect to homeowners.”

Photo credit above: “Evacuees of the High Park Fire view firefighting efforts from across Horsetooth Reservoir Monday afternoon.” (Steve Nehf, The Denver Post)

Rains Worse Than Past Hurricanes For Some In Pensacola. 22″ of rain – from a system that isn’t a tropical storm or hurricane? Amazing. More from “PENSACOLA — After surveying the damage Monday, Willie Betts said he’d gone through several hurricanes during his 25 years at Forest Creek Apartments but had never before been flooded out until a massive rainfall over the weekend. The 200-unit, low-income complex sustained the most serious damage from thunderstorms in the Pensacola area. The heavy rains also washed out a couple bridges and left hundreds, including Betts, at least temporarily homeless. Even 2004’s Hurricane Ivan, the most severe storm to strike Pensacola in about 70 years, didn’t flood his apartment although it did inundate some in lower-lying sections of the complex, Betts said.”Photo credit above: “Workers clean up and throw out food from the Escambia County Jail, Monday, June 11, 2012, in Pensacola, Fla., after this weekend’s heavy rain submerged the jail’s basement. Floodwaters damaged the kitchen area, computer server room, muster and training area, as well as the laundry facility.” (AP Photo/The Pensacola News Journal, Ben Twingley)
May 2012 Tornadoes : No Deaths Reported, NOAA Numbers Show. This is an amazing development, in light of the number of tornadoes that touched down last month. It’s a testament to NOAA Doppler technology, timely warnings, TV meteorologists on the air narrating tornado outbreaks, and good ‘ol fashioned luck. OurAmazingPlanet andHuffington Post have the details: “After 2011, one of the deadliest tornado years on record, 2012 is setting some tornado records worth celebrating: For the first time in seven years, tornadoes didn’t kill a single person in the month of May. The month is typically a prime time for deadly twisters; the last time the month passed without a single tornado fatality was in 2005, according to numbers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The cheery figures reflect the remarkably low number of tornadoes that struck in May 2012, said Harold Brooks, a research meteorologist at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Okla. “At the moment, it appears that this May had the lowest number of tornadoes since the time relatively good records began, in 1954,” Brooks told OurAmazingPlanet.”

* map above showing May tornado touchdowns courtesy of NOAA SPC.
7 Day’s Worth Of Storm Reports. Data from NOAA, interactive map courtesy of Ham Weather. Details:

Total Storm Reports: 1676
Wind: 801
Rain: 167
Snow/Blizzard: 9
Tornado: 41
Fog: 1
Hail: 625
Lightning: 17
14: 1
16: 2
Tides: 12

7 Unusual Tips For Hurricane Preparedness. Not something Minnesotans have to worry about (one of the few things), but many of us have friends and family living in Hurricane Alley. Utica’s Observer-Dispatch has the story; here’s an excerpt: “(ARA) – With hurricane season underway, those in the South and East are encouraged to revisit their hurricane preparedness plans. While stocking up on essential items – like food and water – and making necessary fixes – like boarding windows – are automatic actions for most, here are a few unique hurricane preparedness tips that homeowners might not normally think of.

* Buy a local/state map: Whether you are waiting out the storm or are forced to evacuate, a local and/or state map is essential. When the power goes out, your GPS might not be fully charged or fully functional, so a map will ease many headaches when either finding the quickest way out of town or getting around closed/blocked roads.

* Do your laundry and dishes ahead of time: Having all of your clothes, towels and dishes clean and ready to go will not only give you more resources during the storm, but you also won’t have to worry about finding a place to wash them since you will have lots of clean ones on hand.”

Flash Floods Cause Chaos As Britain Hit By Stormy Weather. Here’s an excerpt fromThe Telegraph: “The sudden deluge in the first month of summer wreaked havoc in many areas, flooding homes, forcing schools and major roads to close and disrupting a hospital. On Tuesday morning, there was no sign that conditions were easing as authorities issued seven flood warnings – the second highest level of alert – across parts of London, the South East and East Anglia.” Image:

Flooding: What Should You Do? The U.K. is enduring serious flooding right now; I thought The Guardian had some useful tips for flood prep, which transcend borders and languages – here’s an excerpt: “There’s been a flood alert for my area. What should I do? Tune in to the local radio station on a battery or wind-up radio so you can keep up with what is going on and to check the local weather forecast. Prepare a flood kit: homeinsurance documents, torch, warm waterproof clothing, first aid kit and prescription medicine, bottled water and non-perishable food, baby food and care items. Think about who will need help to get out of danger, including vulnerable neighbours and pets.”

Photo credit above: “Flooding is predicted for many areas of England and Wales.” Photograph: David Cheskin/PA


TV Meteorologists Have More High Tech, But Predicting Intensity Still Elusive. We’ve come a long way in predicting the track of hurricanes, but the models we use are still not terribly good at predicting intensity (“will Hurricane Bubba be a Category 2 or a Category 4 storm when it reaches land?”). Here’s an excerpt of an illuminating article fromThe Miami Herald: “The biggest change in the TV weathercasting business wrought by Hurricane Andrew when it roared across South Florida 20 years ago this summer? That’s easy to answer, laughs WSVN-Fox 7 meteorologist Phil Ferro: that a newspaper reporter would be calling him up to ask such a question. “Before Andrew, meteorologists were mostly behind the scenes,” he says. “Now we are definitely right there on page one. If there’s even a little burp in the tropics, we’re up there leading the newscast.” With another hurricane season about to start, TV meteorologists and their crews are gearing up, devising new graphics, stockpiling historical information, and — their greatest and most eternal challenge — trying to hone in on the fine line between warning their viewers and panicking them.”
Photo credit above: “WSVN-Fox 7 meteorologist Phil Ferro.” WSVN

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Navy Pushes Global And Hurricane Forecast Improvements. Here’s an interesting article from The Office of Naval Research and WeatherBug: “The U.S. Navy, with a fleet operating in every ocean of the world and a team of forecasters and field observers supporting them, is researching the links between the ocean and weather patterns around the world. The Navy focuses much of its weather-related research on tropical cyclones that form around the world, including hurricanes that develop in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. One promising real-time, high-resolution Navy computer forecast model has demonstrated better skill at forecasting storm track and strength than other computer model approaches currently utilized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration`s National Hurricane Center. “There is a concerted effort to link various atmospheric and oceanic models together to attain more accurate weather forecasts,” said Dan Eleuterio, a program officer at the Office of Naval Research.”

Air Pollution Increases Risk Of Repeated Cardiac Events. Here’s an excerpt of an article at Red Orbit that made be do a double-take: “In the study, cardiac patients who lived in areas with high pollution had a 40 percent higher chance of having a second heart attack as compared to patients who lived in places with low air pollution. The findings were presented at the San Diego Epidemiological Meeting of the American Heart Association in March and the Annual Meeting of the Israeli Heart Society in April.”

In Fibromyalgia It’s Not The Weather. If you have a friend or family member you may want to forward them this article from; here’s an excerpt: “BERLIN — Many patients with fibromyalgia blame worsening of their symptoms on the weather, but when the effects of different meteorological conditions were analyzed, very few effects on symptoms were seen, and then only small ones, a Dutch researcher said here. Ercolie Bossema, MD, of Utrecht University, and her team analyzed the two symptoms of pain and fatigue and five weather factors — duration of sun, air temperature, rain, air pressure, and relative humidity and found that on a given day, out of 50 possible associations, only three were significantly linked: 

  • Pain and an increase in relative humidity during the previous day (P=0.004)

Renewable Energy Sees Record $257 Billion Investment In 2011, Solar Drives Much Spending. Here’s an excerpt from a Washington Post story: “GENEVA — Global investment in renewable energy reached a record of $257 billion last year, with solar attracting more than half the total spending, according to a U.N. report released Monday. Investment in solar energy surged to $147 billion in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 52 percent thanks to strong demand for rooftop photovoltaic installations in Germany, Italy, China and Britain.”Photo credit above: Cumberland Times-News/Steven Bittner/Associated Press – “In this June 5, 2012 photo, construction continues on the Sustainable Energy Research Facility (SERF), a completely off-grid green building, at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Md. The building will generate its own electricity from solar and wind power.”

U.S. Still Lags Behind Other Nations In Share Of Renewable Energy. You don’t think the entrenched fossil fuel industry has anything to do with this, do you? Details from The L.A. Times: “The U.S. still lagged behind other nations in 2011 in the share of energy it gets from renewable sources, in spite of a more than 300% increase in funding for green power projects over the last decade. That’s the finding of a report released Monday by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which looked at green power efforts in both advanced and emerging economies around the world. European countries still have massive debt programs, double-dip recessions and fragile banking systems, but the NRDC found that those problems haven’t stopped them from getting much higher percentages of their total energy production from renewable sources.”

Photo credit above: “A solar electric power generating system collects energy In Ivanpah, Calif. Among nations, only China spent more than the U.S. on renewable energy projects in 2011.” (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times / May 22, 2012)


Apple Unveils Macbook Pro With Retina Display. Details from – here’s an excerpt: “Apple has announced the next generation of its 15-inch MacBook Pro. The new machine packs a 15.4 inch “Retina display” which promises improved viewing angles, reduced glare, and a resolution of 2880 x 1800: four times greater than the previous MacBook Pro. Along with the impressive new display, the latest MacBook Pros come with new performance options, such as NVIDIA’s Kepler GT650m graphics card, a refreshed Intel quad core i7 processor, up to 768GB of flash storage and up to 16GB of 1600 MHz RAM.”


OHEA Smart Bed Makes Itself. Now here’s an invention I can wrap my brain around – as highlighted at “Unless you’re an obsessive “morning” person, making the bed first thing after waking ranks right up there with banging your knee on the night stand. Understanding that most people would just like to turn around and see the bed magically made, Spanish furniture company OHEA is offering a self-making “smart bed” that tidies the sheet and pillows the moment you stand up.”
Baby Moose. Voyageur Canoe Outfitters provided this photo and explanation, viaFacebook, of a mamma moose and her new cubs near Grand Marais: “New kids on the block- Voyageur’s block anyway. Welcome baby moose!”

El Nino Watch
Yesterday Climate Central released a comprehensive report, showing that 45 states have warmed significantly since 1912. Minnesota is the third fastest warming state in the USA, right behind Arizona and Michigan. “The speed of warming across the lower 48 more than tripled, from 0.127°F per decade over the 100-year period, to 0.435°F per decade since 1970” the report says – details on the blog.
Speaking of warming, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has issued an “El Nino Watch”, meaning a high probability of a warming phase of the Pacific within 6 months. These El Nino events correlate with warmer, drier winters for Minnesota. We’ll see. Another mild winter? Shocking news. Keep in mind last winter was the 4th warmest on record for the USA, in spite of a moderate La Nina cooling phase. It doesn’t seem to matter whether we’re in a La Nina (cooling) or El Nino (warming) phase – it just keeps on warming, and the warming is accelerating. If pointing that fact out makes me an “alarmist” then so be it. The trends are a bit alarming.
May brought the fewest tornadoes nationwide since accurate records were started back in 1954 (only 122) – with no fatalities reported. Good news indeed.
Our September vacation is winding down. The arrival of warm, sticky air sets off a stray shower today, heavier T-storms Thursday (wettest day in sight). We may see 90 by Friday.
Father’s Day Weekend? T-storms are likely Saturday and Sunday (a few hours of hard rain each day). The sun will be out from time to time (in-between storms), very muggy with highs from 85-90 F. 1-3″ of rain may fall by Monday.
No need to water anytime soon!

Climate Stories…

The Heat Is On: U.S. Temperature Trends. Here is a comprehensive report shows the states that are warming fastest across the USA; Minnesota is third on the list, right behind Arizona and Michigan. Climate Central has put together an impressive overview; here’s an excerpt: “We looked at average daily temperatures for the continental 48 states from 1912 to the present, and also from 1970 to the present and found: 

  • Over the past 100 years, the top 10 states warmed 60 times faster than the bottom 10 (0.26°F per decade vs. 0.004°F per decade), when looking at average mean temperatures. During this timeframe, 45 states showed warming trends, although 21 were not statistically significant. Three states experienced a slight cooling trend.
  • Since 1970, warming began accelerating everywhere. The speed of warming across the lower 48 more than tripled, from 0.127°F per decade over the 100-year period, to 0.435°F per decade since 1970, while the gap between the fast and slowly warming states narrowed significantly; the 10 fastest warming states heated up just twice as fast, not 60 times as fast as the 10 slowest warming states (0.60°F vs. 0.30°F per decade). Over the past 42 years 17 states warmed more than half a degree F per decade.”

Global Warming – Yawn. How Bad Could It Possibly Get? Here’s an excerpt from an article in Australia’s Canberra Times: “…The scientific consensus is that we are still on track for 3 degrees of warming by 2100, but that’s just warming caused by human greenhouse-gas emissions. The problem is that +3 degrees is well past the point where the major feedbacks kick in: natural phenomena triggered by our warming, like melting permafrost and the loss of Arctic sea-ice cover, that will add to the heating and that we cannot turn off. The trigger is actually around 2 degrees higher average global temperature. After that we lose control of the process: ending our own carbon-dioxide emissions would no longer be enough to stop the warming. We may end up trapped on an escalator heading up to +6 degrees with no way of getting off. And +6 degrees gives you the mass extinction.”

File Photo credit above: (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Alarming Trends. Latest data shows 2012 to be on track for the least Arctic ice on record, possibly breaking the old record (green dashed line) set in 2007. Source: NOAA’

Climate Change Will Boost Number Of U.S. West’s Wildfires. The story from Reuters and The Chicago Tribune; here’s an excerpt: “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Climate change will make U.S. western wildfires, like those now raging in parts of Colorado and New Mexico, more frequent over the next 30 years, researchers reported on Tuesday. More broadly, almost all of North America and most of Europe will see wildfires more often by the year 2100, the scientists wrote in the journal Ecosphere, a publication of the Ecological Society of America……”But the speed and extent to which some of these changes may happen is surprising. These abrupt changes in fire patterns not only affects people’s livelihoods, but also they add stress to native plants and animals that are already struggling to adapt to habitat loss,” Moritz said in a statement.”

Photo credit above: “A huge plume of smoke rises from Colorado’s High Park Fire, with dozens of homes visible in the foreground about 15 miles northwest of Fort Collins (June12, 2012).” Chicago Tribune/Reuters.

North Carolina Ignores Science In Sea Level Planning. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting story from Dr. Jeff Masters in his Wunderblog: “An interesting political battle is underway in North Carolina on how to plan for 21st century sea level rise, reports. Sea level rise scientists commonly cite one meter (3.3 feet) as the expected global sea level rise by 2100, and more than a dozen science panels from coastal states, including a state-appointed science panel in North Carolina, agree. However, a coastal economic development group called NC-20, named for the 20 coastal counties in North Carolina, attacked the report, saying the science was flawed. NC-20 says the state should rely only on historical trends of sea level rise, and not plan for a future where sea level rise might accelerate.”

Image credit above: “Global sea level rise from 1992 – April 2012, as measured by three satellite instruments (TOPEX, Jason-1, and Jason-2.) Sea level rise has been relatively constant at about 3.1 mm per year (1.2 inches per decade) during this time period. The big downward dip during 2010 is due to the fact that year had a record amount of precipitation over land areas. By 2011, that precipitation had run-off into the oceans, bringing sea level back up again.” Image credit: University of Colorado Sea Level Research Group. Courtesy: Weather Underground.



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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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