Damaging Hail and Debilitating Heat

“The happiest people don’t bother about whether life is unfair. They just concentrate on what they have” wrote Andrew Matthews. Covid-19 has dealt a devastating blow to businesses. People who worked hard and did everything right are scrambling to stay afloat in this new age of perpetual uncertainty.

Farmers are America’s original entrepreneurs: taking risk with no guarantee of return. One 10-minute hailstorm can wipe out a season’s worth of crops.

Last Saturday’s hailstorm left a 2-6 mile wide swath of crop damage from Willmar to Nicollet County; hail as big as tennis balls (2.5 inch diameter) observed. No, it’s not fair.

We enjoyed a meager ration of comfortable air – now we heat up into the weekend. Saturday should bring mid-90s with an afternoon heat index pushing 100F. This invasion of junglelike heat sparks T-storms Friday night, another round Saturday night, but most of the weekend will be dry and delightfully sweaty. Summer is half over, at least on paper. July ends on a hot note; more 90s to come!

Photo credit: Paul Douglas.

A July Hailstorm in Minnesota. The severe storms last Saturday afternoon triggered widespread crop damage, according to the University of Minnesota Extension: “On Saturday July 11, 2020, a routine summer thunderstorm spawned severe weather across an exceptionally long streak in western Minnesota. With high winds and rain, a significant swath of large hail fell from near Willmar and continued into Nicollet County leaving devastated corn, soybean, and sugarbeet crops in a two- to six-mile-wide path. Hail as large as 2.5 inches in diameter was reported in areas of southwestern Minnesota as well, including a stretch in Jackson County, resulting in significant crop damage…”

Photo credit: “Hail-damaged soybean from July 11, 2020.”

Spotty Storms Up North Today. The approach of the next wave of heat will leave the atmosphere irritable and capable of a few T-storms over the northern third of Minnesota today.

Heat Peaks Saturday – Some Relief Next Week. Temperatures build over the next 72 hours, peaking Saturday afternoon with low to mid 90s in the metro and a heat index close to 100F. Thank God for so many lakes. Map sequence: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Potentially Dangerous Heat Shifts From Midwest To East Coast. Saturday heat indices may approach 110F from Omaha and Des Moines to Peoria, but models shift the core of the heat wave to the east coast by Monday, with early week heat indices as high as 110-115F near Richmond and Washington D.C. Good grief. Maps above courtesy of NOAA.

Saturday Heat Spike – GFS Still Out to Lunch. Models agree that Saturday will be plenty hot in the Twin Cities, but I’m still not buying GFS’s solution of 102F at MSP a week from Friday. GFS has been (consistently) hot in recent weeks, while ECMWF has been a couple degrees too cool. The joy of juggling models. MSP Meteograms: WeatherBell.

Suffocating Heat Wave Engulfs Most of USA by Late July. Not terribly much relief in sight in the coming weeks as a heat-pump high pressure stalls over the western and central states; temperatures may run 5-15F above average from the west coast to the Upper Midwest and Mississippi Valley. A real summer this year. Imagine that.

Peak Heat. The map above (courtesy of NOAA) shows the mean date(s) of warmest temperatures across the USA. There is quite a range across the nation, from early June in southern New Mexico to late September for parts of the west coast.

Great Warm Lakes. Good grief – a hot summer is showing up in Great Lakes water temperatures. Details via NASA’s Earth Observatory: “…The map above shows water surface temperature anomalies for July 9, 2020; that is, how much the surface layer of each lake was above or below the long-term average temperature for this time of year. The data come from the Multiscale Ultrahigh Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (MUR SST) project, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. MUR SST blends measurements of sea surface temperatures from multiple NASA, NOAA, and international satellites, as well as ship and buoy observations. According to the map above and NOAA reports, surface temperatures are 6° to 10° Fahrenheit (3° to 5° Celsius) above normal for early July. The average lake water temperature across all of Lake Erie—the shallowest lake—was 74.29°F on July 15; it was 59.83°F across Lake Superior, the largest lake...”

What is a Supercell? Why These Thunderstorms Can Form Violent Tornadoes. 1 in 10 thunderstorms, on average, will become severe. Only 1 in 100 thunderstorms will ever go on to spin up a tornado. Here’s an excerpt of an explainer from Fox News: “The National Weather Service (NWS) says that supercells are “perhaps the most violent” of all types of severe thunderstorms, capable of producing damaging winds, large hail and weak-to-violent tornadoes. “What makes a supercell unique from all other thunderstorm types is that it contains a deep and persistent rotating updraft called a mesocyclone,” the NWS forecast office in Amarillo, Texas, states. “If the environment is favorable, supercell thunderstorms can last for several hours...”

Graphic credit: National Severe Storms Laboratory.

Coastal Flooding Will Continue to Increase, NOAA Report Says. Details via USA TODAY: “It doesn’t take a storm to inundate the coast with potentially ruinous floodwaters. “Nuisance” or “sunny day” high-tide flooding is becoming more commonplace across the US, and a federal report released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that such flooding will worsen in the decades to come as seas continue to rise.  “America’s coastal communities and their economies are suffering from the effects of high-tide flooding, and it’s only going to increase in the future,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. As sea-level rise continues, damaging floods that decades ago happened only during a storm now happen more regularly, such as during a full-moon tide or with a change in prevailing winds or currents, according to NOAA…”

Graphic credit: Climate Central.

New Data Shows an “Extraordinary” Rise in U.S. Coastal Flooding. Not a model, but measuring the rising water with a yardstick. The New York Times (paywall) offers more perspective: “…The number of days with high-tide flooding set or tied records in 19 places around the country last year, including Corpus Christi, Texas, which recorded 18 days of flooding; Galveston, Texas (18 days); Annapolis, Md. (18 days); and Charleston, S.C. (13 days). The place with the greatest number of recorded flood days was Eagle Point, Texas, in Galveston Bay; it reported high-tide flooding on 64 days, or almost one day out of five. Those numbers represent huge jumps in a short period of time. In 2000, Corpus Christi had just three days of tidal flooding; Charleston had just two. The report notes that Charleston recorded just 13 days of high-tide flooding in the more than 50 years that measurements were first kept — the same number that occurred last year alone...”

As GOP Convention Moves Outdoors, Florida’s Severe Summer Weather Threatens. What can possibly go wrong? A post at Forbes lists the ways: “…But the solution of moving events outdoors is not without its faults: the average high temperature in Jacksonville in August is over 90ºF, according to the data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Jennifer Collins, a professor in the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida, warned that the threat of heat stroke is high for an outdoor event, with an especially heightened risk to demographics that are common at any Republican Convention: the elderly and “those who are not used to such high temperatures from out of state...”

Tesla Model 3 Resale Value is Over Five Times Better Than Industry Average: Study. Yeah, I’m a little biased, but here’s an excerpt from Teslerati: “...What is rather remarkable is that the Tesla Model 3, the electric car maker’s most affordable vehicle in its lineup today, retains its value even more than its more expensive siblings. According to iSeeCars.com’s data, the Model 3 only loses 10.2% of its value over a three year period. This means that the Model 3’s depreciation is over five times less than the EV industry’s average, and over three times less than the overall auto market’s average. Part of this, according to the study, is due to the Model 3’s bang for your buck nature.  “The Tesla Model 3 is still very much in high demand since it started production in 2017. Even though it doesn’t present a bargain compared to its new car price, it offers consumers a more affordable option for owning a Tesla,” the study noted...”

Minnesota: Least Stressed State in the Nation? I knew we were #1. Here’s an excerpt from Mental Floss: “…WalletHub analyzed 41 factors across four different types of stress—work, money, family, and health and safety—and scored each state’s collective stress level on a scale of 100. Nearly all 10 of the most-stressed states are in the South or Southwest, including Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, and Oklahoma. Louisiana came in first with just over 57 points…If you’re looking to move somewhere mellow, your best bet is the upper Midwest. Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa are the four least-stressed states in the land...”

NEOWISE Comet Visible This Month – But Won’t Be Again for 6,000 Years. So you’re telling me I won’t get a second chance? Details via Mental Floss: “On March 27, 2020, NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer discovered a new comet in our celestial neighborhood. The C/2020 F3 NEOWISE comet (or comet NEOWISE for short) became visible to more people than ever when it began appearing in northern latitudes during evening hours this month. If you want to catch the spectacle, July is the time to do so: After comet NEOWISE passes by Earth, it won’t be visible for another 6000 years, Lifehacker reports. Recently, comet NEOWISE appeared above the northern horizon in the predawn sky in the northern U.S. and Canada…”

Photo credit: Susie Martin, Director of Operations at Praedictix.

How Many Hot Dogs Can One Person Eat? CNN.com delves into the science of severe storm aches: “Researchers analyzed 39 years of data from the annual Nathan’s Famous Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest and, using mathematical modeling, calculated the maximum number of hot dogs one person could possibly eat during the contest’s 10-minute duration. The current world record is 74, a bar set by perennial competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut at this year’s Coney Island event. That’s roughly 21,000 calories, by the way…”

Window Swap. ‘Wanna get away? Oh, that’s right. We can’t. Well, this may be the next best thing – gazing out someone else’s window around the world. Try Window Swap – it’s pretty addictive.

80 F. high in the Twin Cities Wednesday.

84 F. average high on July 15.

92 F. high on July 15, 2019.

July 16, 2006: A heat burst occurs over west central and central Minnesota. The temperature at Canby jumped from 91 degrees to 100 degrees in 40 minutes from 10:35pm to 11:15pm. At the same time the dew point temperature dropped from 63 to 32 degrees. Heat bursts are caused by dying thunderstorms with very warm air aloft.

July 16, 1963: A downpour falls at St. Charles, where half a foot of rain accumulates in one day.

THURSDAY: Warm sun, T-storms north. Winds: SW 10-20. High: 84

FRIDAY: Hot sun, nighttime T-storms likely. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 68. High: 89

SATURDAY: Wet start, then sizzling sunshine. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 75. High: 94

SUNDAY: Plenty of sun, slight dip in humidity. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 72. High: 88

MONDAY: More clouds than sun, a bit cooler. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 65. High: 84

TUESDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, avg. temps. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 64. High: 82

WEDNESDAY: Unsettled, few pop-up showers, storms. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 62. HIgh: 84

Climate Stories…

Biden’s $2 Trillion Climate Plan Aims to Reframe Debate. Here’s an overview from Associated Press: “Joe Biden released a $2 trillion plan on Tuesday to boost investment in clean energy and stop all climate-damaging emissions from U.S. power plants by 2035, arguing that dramatic action is needed to tackle climate change and revive the economy. In remarks near his home in Wilmington, Delaware, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee sought to reframe the politics of climate change. He rebuffed arguments from President Donald Trump and his Republican allies that Democratic plans to invest in clean energy would cost jobs...”

Joe Biden’s climate and clean energy plan details are here. (Note: when President Trump releases his climate plan for a possible second term I will be sure post them here.)

How Facebook Handles Climate Disinformation. The New York Times (paywall) explains: “As Covid-19 spread across the globe early this year, Facebook went into action to combat potentially dangerous disinformation on its site. The company labeled and suppressed misleading content, removed disinformation and directed users to reputable sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. This swift action stood in sharp contrast to Facebook’s stance on another divisive and complex danger: climate change. That’s because, under the company’s guidelines, climate content can be classified as opinion and therefore exempted from fact-checking procedures…”

Image credit: “

The Sweet Surrender of Salvation. My theory: it’s possible to have respect for science, and a faith in something more. What do bees and Covid-19 have to do with what comes next? I had no idea I’d show up in a post at Christianity Today: “…Left out of this deleterious deluge, as noted by a profusion of commenters, is the ever-looming cataclysm of climate change. Minneapolis meteorologist Paul Douglas, politically conservative and Jesus loving, reiterates over and over the multiple strands of evidence—CO2 levels at a 3-million-year high, temperatures and sea levels rising, rains falling harder, growing seasons longer, and crazy weather everywhere. Scripture warns of destruction by fire and famine, a portent, perhaps, of global heat to come. Jesus and the prophets tied cosmological catastrophe to wars and strife as harbingers of apocalyptic doom (Deut. 32:22; Mark 13:8; 2 Pet. 3:7; Rev. 8:7). We reap what we sow…”

Global Offshore Wind Investment Quadrupled Despite Pandemic: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Global investment in offshore wind more than quadrupled in the first half of 2020 to $35 billion, despite the global economic shock precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic. China greenlighted 17 offshore wind projects in the first half of the year alone, according to BNEF, driven in part by a rush by developers to finance and build projects before the government’s subsidy regime ends next year. Offshore wind’s resilience to economic headwinds, BNEF believes, is due in part to a two-thirds fall in cost since 2012. A new report commissioned by the High Level Panel for Sustainable Ocean Economy, also found sustainable ocean policies, including increasing offshore wind production — along with mangrove conservation and restoration, decarbonization of the shipping industry, and increasing sustainable ocean-based protein — could reap huge returns for the global economy.” (Offshore wind investment: The Guardian: Oceans policy: CNBC, The Guardian, CNN)

Climate Change Will Cause More Extreme Wet and Dry Seasons. ScienceDaily has a summary of new research; here’s an excerpt: “…The higher the temperature, the more variation in water availability, researchers found. Mishra said that his message to the world is that water is a very important resource. “The availability of this resource is an issue everybody is facing,” he said. “We need to take precautions to optimally use how much water we have. As the climate changes and population increases, we should be preparing for the future by improving the technology to efficiently use water for crops…”

Global Temperatures Near Hottest on Record. Climate Central has details: “Using combined NOAA and NASA data, we find that 2020 has been the planet’s 2nd-hottest year on record through June. Year-to-date temperatures are 1.36℃ (2.45℉) above a 1881-1910 baseline—approaching levels from the record-setting year of 2016. This year is 90% likely to finish among the top three. Warming will continue as long as we emit greenhouse gases. While emissions temporarily declined this spring during global shutdowns, they are quickly rising back to normal in much of the world...”