Clippers Here – Crazy Weather Western USA

Everything is interconnected, in ways we can’t even begin to wrap our brains around. Can a butterfly flapping its wings in Colorado spawn a tornado in Kansas? Perhaps.

Exhibit A: the cold storm responsible for another 10 inches of snow in Denver is putting the squeeze on the atmosphere above California, whipping up gale force winds and new wildfires.

These fires are so massive they literally create their own weather. Towering plumes of smoke spark updrafts capable of fire-tornadoes, lowering humidity levels at ground level, increasing the odds of new fires.

On September 2 Denver experienced the latest 100-degree high on record. -3F this morning breaks their all-time low for October. Talk about weather-whiplash.

Our pattern looks cold and quiet until further notice with little drama. Chicago picks up 3-6 inches of snow on Halloween but a parade of clippers sparks little more than flurries here into next week.

I wouldn’t rule out Indian Summer. NOAA’s GFS model shows 50s by mid-November. If only.

Cold and Quiet. A few inches of slushy snow may pile up from Madison and Milwaukee to Chicago by Halloween, but a dry sky is predicted this year for Minnesota. Maps above: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

GFS: A Milder Solution for Mid-November? This is hardly gospel, but yesterday’s 500mb forecast suggests a milder, zonal flow formuch of the USA with the coldest air bottled up well to our north. Stay tuned to see if this is a fluke or a trend.

California Burns: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “High winds are expected to return to California today after a day of respite as multiple wildfires rage across the state and hundreds of thousands of Californians are under evacuation orders. In Northern California, the Kincade Fire has swelled to twice the size of San Francisco and is only 15 percent contained, while the Getty Fire has grown to more than 600 acres since Monday morning as it burns through affluent areas of Los Angeles. After causing blackouts for more than 2.5 million customers over the weekend, utility PG&E said it will shut off power for 1.5 million Tuesday. Climate change has increased the risk of wildfires through warmer temperatures and drier conditions that lengthen wildfire season, increase the chances of a fire starting, and help a burning fire spread.” (Sacramento BeeNew York Times $, USA Today, NPR, Washington Post $, CNN, CBS. Commentary: LA Times editorial $. Background: Climate Signals)

Another Windstorm Set to Complicate Battle Against Northern California Kincaid Fire. Capital Weather Gang analyzes the risk; here’s an excerpt: “…The repeated high wind events are resulting in dry vegetation that will burn easily if any new fires ignite. In fact, forecasters in San Francisco said they have never before seen three red flag warning events in a seven-day period. “I’ve been in this business for 28 years; I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Steve Anderson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s forecast office serving the San Francisco Bay area. Residents of Southern California, particularly from Los Angeles and Ventura counties south to San Diego, are gearing up for what could be a record-setting Santa Ana wind event beginning around midnight Tuesday night and continuing through Thursday. A red flag warning has been hoisted for the metro L.A. area, where winds could gust as high as 80 mph in higher elevations and canyons and reach 70 mph in valley locations...”

Image credit: “Nearly 200,000 evacuees have left their homes in Northern California, some staying in a shelter in Petaluma.” (James Pace-Cornsilk, Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post).

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Tuesday, October 29th, 2019:

  • Several wildfires continue to burn in southern and northern California, with the largest being the Kincade Fire in northern California.
  • With a new system diving south into the Great Basin, winds are expected to increase across California today and tonight, leading to more days of dangerous fire weather conditions. The strongest winds today will be in northern California, with the focus moving to southern California tonight into Thursday.
  • An Extreme fire danger is in place across portions of southern California both today and Wednesday, as high winds and low humidity values along with dry fuels would allow rapidly spreading fires with any ongoing or new ones that ignite across the region.
  • Snow is already falling in Denver this morning with a new snowstorm expected to impact the Front Range through Wednesday morning. The heaviest snow will fall today through the evening hours, with overall totals of 6-12” possible for Denver. A Winter Storm Warning is in place for the metro. Behind this snow, the all-time October record low in Denver could be broken Thursday morning.

Active Fires. Fires continue to burn across California this morning, with the largest continuing to be the Kincade Fire in northern California. Here’s an update on some of the fires across the region (you can find the interactive version of the map above along with more information on these fires from CalFire here:

  • Kincade Fire: The Kincade Fire has burned 74,324 acres and is 15% contained. A new evacuation warning was issued Monday evening in portions of Lake County, with numerous evacuation orders still in place across the region. 123 structures have been destroyed.
  • Tick Fire: The Tick Fire has burned 4,615 acres and is 82% contained. A total of 29 structures have been destroyed.
  • Getty Fire: The Getty Fire has burned 618 acres and is 5% contained. At least 10,000 structures are in the mandatory evacuation zone, and eight residences have been destroyed. Mandatory evacuations remain in place. This fire is being managed by the Los Angeles Fire Department, and the latest information can be found here:

Extreme Fire Danger Today. Fire danger ramps up once again today across portions of northern and southern California. As the pressure gradient strengthens across northern California today, strong winds are expected to develop with some of the highest winds expected in the Sacramento Valley this afternoon. In these areas, wind gusts up to 65 mph will be possible. Strong winds will continue to be possible tonight across the North Bay Mountains. Due to these strong winds and low humidity values, a critical fire danger is in place.

In southern California, the winds will start to strengthen tonight as a Santa Ana wind event develops across the region. Already by Wednesday morning wind gusts up to 65 mph will be possible across the higher terrain areas from Ventura to Riverside and Orange Counties, with strong wind gusts to the Ventura County coast. Due to these strong winds expected to develop into the overnight hours, an extreme fire danger is in place across higher elevation areas of Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernadino, Orange, and Riverside Counties.

Extreme Danger Continues Into Wednesday. Fire danger will continue into Wednesday across California. Starting in southern California, extreme fire weather conditions are expected to be in place through much of the day, with wind gusts potentially near 85 mph across the Ventura, Los Angeles, and western San Bernadino County mountains and wind gusts to 60 mph in the San Diego County mountains. This will allow for rapid spreading of any fires (new or ongoing) across the region. The worst conditions are expected during the morning hours, but another period of extreme fire danger is possible as we head into Wednesday Night. The extreme fire danger designation is in place for the Peninsular and Transverse Ranges of southern California.

In northern California, strong northerly winds – especially during the morning hours – will once again lead to a critical fire danger. Wind gusts to 40 mph are expected.

Red Flag Warnings. Due to the fire danger over the next few days, Red Flag Warnings are in effect. This means that fire weather conditions will be in place, including those strong winds and low humidity values, which would allow any new or ongoing fires to rapidly spread.

Wind Concerns. Due to the expected strong winds across the region, Wind Advisories and High Wind Watches are in place. In northern California, Wind Advisories from Redding to Sacramento are in place from 8 AM through 11 PM today for gusts to 55 mph. Across the North Bay Mountains above 1,000 feet, the Wind Advisories are in place from Noon today through 11 AM Wednesday for gusts to 65 mph, with the strongest winds expected from this evening through sunrise Wednesday. In southern California, High Wind Watches are in place from this evening into Thursday. Wind gusts of 60-80 mph will be possible, with the strongest winds expected Wednesday.

Snow Again Falling In Denver. The next round of snow has already started this morning in Denver and is expected to last into the day Wednesday. Roads will once again become snow covered and slippery, especially for the evening commute tonight and the Wednesday morning commute.

Expected Snow Amounts. Snow totals around Denver and the Plains are expected to be in the 6-12” range through Wednesday. The heaviest snow across the region is expected from the late morning through the evening hours today.

Winter Alerts. Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories are in place around Denver through noon Wednesday, with a Winter Storm Warning in place for the Denver metro. Winter Weather Advisories extend eastward to Kansas City (from 10 PM tonight through 4 AM Thursday for up to 2” of snow and a tenth of an inch of ice) and Omaha (from midnight tonight through 1 AM Thursday for 1-3” of snow).

Very Cold Behind The Snow. Behind this snowstorm, it’s going to be bitterly cold Thursday morning in Denver, with a forecast low of -3F. This would break the all-time October record low of -2F set on October 29, 1917. Wind chill values will approach -20F that morning.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix

Three Reasons Tornado Threats Warrant Immediate TV Coverage. Wait, even during a Dallas Cowboys football game? Marshall Shepherd explains in a post at Forbes; here’s an excerpt: “…For many people, live streaming and digital alerts by phone are sufficient to make them feel adequately informed. Here comes the difficult part for many of the people that complain about their game or TV show being interrupted for weather coverage. It is not sufficient for everyone. In 2015, Five Thirty Eight asked 938 respondents how they receive wither information. The answers were: phone’s default weather app (23.2%), local TV news (20.6%), a specific weather website or App (19.1%), The Weather Channel (15.2%), Internet Search (14.2%), newspaper (3.5%), radio (3.4%), and newsletter (0.9%). While I have a collegiate minor in math, the calculation is pretty simple. Almost 36% percent of people (over one-third) rely on TV for their weather information...”

Who Has the Advantage in Colder Weather: Pitchers or Hitters? Here’s an excerpt of a timely post at Yahoo News: “…The pitchers always have the advantage in the cold weather because it’s hard for hitters to feel the bat,” said McLaren, who briefly managed the Nationals and Seattle Mariners and has been a coach for the Nationals, Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies. “I know most good pitchers would like to throw in cold weather because they know the hitters are not loose, they’re stiff, they have a lot of clothes on to stay warm.”And even when the batter gets the ball on the good part of the bat, on real cold days it’s usually thick air and moist and the ball doesn’t travel as far,” McLaren added…”

The False Comfort of Higher Seawalls. How high do want those walls to go? Here’s a clip from a story at The New Republic: “...New flood protection infrastructure can lead to low perceived risk, increased development, and thus amplified impacts when extremes eventually occur. It’s not enough to build a sea wall and call it a day. Investing not just in levies, but also in flood-resistant homes, and moving local infrastructure can make high-risk areas more resilient. But physical infrastructure is only one component. “Rather than just being about a wall or structure that’s in place—something that’s very static, something that can be destroyed, something that has to be rebuilt—we could build a society itself where shocks are part of the system,” Aldrich said. Social ties, it turns out, matter when it comes to disasters...”

File image: Brian Snyder, Reuters.

No Flashing During the World Series Please. has a news flash: “Major League Baseball is cracking down hard on two women who flashed their breasts on TV during Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night in Washington. The women, identified as Julia Rose and Lauren Summer, are banned indefinitely from “all stadiums and facilities,” according to a letter delivered to them by hand and signed by David Thomas, MLB vice president of security and ballpark operations… Rose and Summer were a few rows behind home plate when they raised their shirts and exposed themselves during the seventh inning as Houston Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole was getting ready to pitch.  Cole stepped off the mound, although it is unclear whether he did so because of the women’s antics...”

40 F. Twin Cities high yesterday.

52 F. average high on October 29.

49 F. high on October 29, 2018.

October 30, 1951: An early snow storm drops as much as 8 inches of snowfall in north central Minnesota. Mora had 8 inches, while Long Prairie received 6 inches. Glenwood, Little Falls, Morris, and New London all had 5 inches of new snow. Meanwhile, surrounding areas received a couple of inches.

October 30, 1936: An intense dust storm causes damage in Central Minnesota. Heavy wind damage is reported in Stearns County.

WEDNESDAY: Some sun, chilly. Winds: W 5-10. High: 35

THURSDAY: Blue sky. Cool-ish and ghoulish. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 23. High: 36

FRIDAY: Next clipper, windblown flurries. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 29. High: near 40

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, a chilly breeze. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 28. High: 38

SUNDAY: Clouds increase, probably dry. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 27. High: 41

MONDAY: Metro rain showers. Slushy mix north. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 34. High: 46

TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy and cold. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 28. High: 37

Climate Stories….

85% of Cities are Feeling Climate Change – But Nearly Half Aren’t Dealing With It. Here’s the intro to a post at Fast Company: “Last year, the United Nations reported that by 2050, about two-thirds of the global population will be living in cities. As people flock to urban centers, representatives from 620 of the world’s largest cities are using CDP, a nonprofit environmental and financial disclosure platform, to report their experiences so far with the dangers brought by climate change. Unsurprisingly, in 2018, 85% of these cities have already reported experiencing major climate issues, from extreme heat waves to flooding. However, 46% of these cities reported that they’ve taken no action to deal with these problems. According to CDP’s information, published in its new Cities at Risk report (which covers 2018 data), flooding is a regular occurrence for 71% of cities. Meanwhile, 61% of reporting cities have dealt with extreme heat, and 36% have undergone droughts…”

Image credit: NOAA.

Majority of Floridians Call Climate Change a Threat, FAU Poll Finds. Tampa Bay Times reports: “…More than two-thirds of Florida adults consider climate change a threat to future generations and say state and local governments should do more to address it, according to a poll released Monday by Florida Atlantic University. The poll found 68 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that climate change “has them concerned about the well-being of future generations in Florida,” according to a news release from the university. Just 28 percent said state, county and city governments were doing enough to address it. Colin Polsky, director of the FAU Center for Environmental Studies, who led the effort, said the poll showed a surprising lack of a “grand partisan divide” on climate change in Florida, compared to the nation as a whole…”

Photo credit: “A motorist drives down a flooded Meadowlawn Dr. near Kingswood Dr. in St. Petersburg after Tropical Storm Colin dumped heavy rains over the Tampa Bay area Tuesday.” JAMES BORCHUCK, Tampa Bay Times]

Kentucky’s Leaders Are Siding with Coal Industry, and it’s Poorest Residents are Paying a Price. Here’s an excerpt from a Mother Jones post: “…Flash floods have troubled Kentucky for decades. Now, extreme rainstorms are worsening with climate change, increasing the odds of more disasters like the one Bentley’s community endured. For Kentucky’s poorest residents, the people living in flood-prone hollows with surface mines nearby, that means an ever-present threat to both life and hard-won possessions. But the state isn’t on the front lines of the fight against global warming. Its leaders, concerned about the impact on coal, have positioned themselves on the other side of that battle. That’s created a dangerous and expensive disconnect—and not just in Kentucky, a Center for Public Integrity analysis shows...”

Illustration credit: Joanna Eberts.

MIT Engineers Unveil Emissions-Free Cement. Say what? Call me crazy but at first blush this seems like a major breakthrough. Big Think explains: “MIT engineers have developed a new method of making concrete without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Cement production is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in industry, accounting for 8 percent of total emissions worldwide. That’s why some have called on architects and builders to abandon cement. “If we invented concrete today, nobody would think it was a good idea,” said architectural engineer Michael Ramage at the Architecture of Emergency climate summit in London in September. “We’ve got this liquid and you need special trucks, and it takes two weeks to get hard. And it doesn’t even work if you don’t put steel in it…”

The U.S. and China Need To Put Aside Their Rivalry and Focus on a Common Enemy: Climate Change. Here’s the intro to an essay at “The U.S. worries that China has become a political and economic threat. China worries that the U.S. is attempting to constrain it. These concerns increasingly resemble a classic Cold War conflict. Such security threats are misplaced. Trade wars and technology competition notwithstanding, there is one overarching global security concern that by its very nature should lead to collaboration and cooperation rather than Cold War antagonism: climate change. We are today witnessing a devastating global crisis in the making. It is happening worldwide, even as climate change’s impacts are immediately felt locally, regionally, and nationally. Make no mistake—ferocious climate events are not just causing extensive physical damage and loss of livelihood—they are creating insecurities that will grow each year and subsume all other existing security fears...”

Photo credit: Doug Kruhoeffer.

Technology Will Not Save Us from Climate Change, But Imagining New Forms of Society Will. Smart growth, smart development, a new generation of green, sustainable agriculture, electrifying transportation and electricity production. Will that be enough? Here’s an excerpt of a story at “...One reason for this is that cutting carbon use depends on changing social norms and behavior as much as technology—whether local food sourcing or reducing fast fashion. Another reason is the urgent need to show the skeptics that they won’t necessarily be harmed by things like higher petrol prices or shrinking traditional industries like coal mining. A can mean many more jobs, for example in refurbishment or recycling e-waste. But this requires a very different approach to innovation, in which investment in new technology is matched by investment in new ways of organizing society. And investment in technology alone has dominated the last century...”