National Weather Forecast

More pop-up showers and storms are expected on Saturday across the central portion of the nation. We will also see some shower and storm potential with a nearby frontal boundary in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, and a few storms still will be possible in Florida due to nearby Arlene.

Heavy rain will pummel parts of Montana and the Southern Plains from Friday through Sunday, with rainfall amounts of 3”+ possible that could lead to flooding.

Arlene will continue to sag southward and weaken over the next day or so, being ripped apart by upper-level winds. No landfall is expected.


Wildfire ‘smelling sensors’ could help first responders protect at-risk communities

More from Smart Cities Dive: “Oakland, California, is testing a new, high-tech approach to protect residents from wildfires — 10 sensors, strategically located in areas where human development meets wilderness, that can detect fires and immediately notify the city’s fire department. “Just like we have commercial and residential fire alarms that notify dispatch, whether it be directly or through third parties, these sensors do the exact same thing,” Oakland Fire Chief Reginald Freeman said in a video posted on Twitter last week, a day after a press conference announcing the two-year pilot program. The Oakland initiative is one piece of a larger effort by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate to determine how environmental sensors can help prepare first-responder communities nationwide for climate and natural disasters, said Jeff Booth, director of the directorate’s Sensors and Platforms Technology Center, in an interview.

Clean (head)winds

More from Politico: “Last year was the year of the Inflation Reduction Act. It was also the year of decline in new renewable energy installations in the U.S. Supply chain constraints, interconnection issues and policy uncertainty resulted in significant delays in clean power projects coming online, according to a report from the American Clean Power Association. Last year saw 15 percent fewer installations compared with 2021, making it the first time in five years that industry experienced a decline. Solar accounted for 68 percent of the delayed capacity, due primarily to trade restrictions making it difficult to source panels. Those delays underscore the need to speed up the permitting process for clean energy projects, the trade group argued. The setbacks have continued into this year. The first quarter of 2023 saw a 36 percent drop in installations compared with last year, marking the slowest start to a year since 2020. Maintaining last year’s project installation volume through 2035 would provide only 30 percent of what’s needed to reach a net-zero grid by then, the report said.

Xcel will reassess investments in Minnesota after regulators’ rate hike decision

More from the Star Tribune: “Xcel Energy said it will reconsider significant investments in Minnesota after state regulators on Thursday approved a three-year rate increase that was much less than what the the state’s largest utility wanted. The Minnesota Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved the $306 million — or 9% — increase, which also was less than the state Department of Commerce and an administrative law judge recommended. Xcel was most recently asking for $440 million over three years. … The utility filed a petition late Thursday asking the PUC to withdraw its $330 million Clean Transportation Portfolio proposal. The centerpiece of that plan would have Xcel building and owning 730 electric vehicle fast chargers in Minnesota, which would make the state home to the largest utility-owned charging system in the country.


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– D.J. Kayser