Good Weather News For Today and Sunday

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. We make plans, especially on big holiday weekends. The atmosphere has no interest in our plans. The weather does its thing – we just get in the way.

That said, 2 out of the next 3 days look pretty nice; a well-timed intermission of high pressure, sinking air, 70s and sunny spurts.

A swirl of chilly air aloft will spark more clouds up north today, with an afternoon shower possible in the Brainerd Lakes area. Sunday may wind up the nicest, sunniest day of the holiday, with mid-70s and a light southeast breeze. Soak it up, because a warm front surging north sparks heavy showers and T-storms on Memorial Day. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few severe storms close to home by Monday afternoon. Have
a Plan B and stay alert.
A cool bias lingers into the first few days of June. At some point the supernaturally chilly air glued over Canada will lift northward and Minnesota will see a streak of 80s. That’s not imminent, but it is inevitable.
It’s wildly premature to write off the Summer of 2019.

Cool Bias Continues. Little or no risk of a hot front reaching the northern USA anytime soon, if long range models are on the right track. NOAA’s GFS forecast for 500mb winds roughly 2 weeks out shows more Canadian air pushing into the northern Rockies and northern Plains; extreme heat limited to the southern and eastern USA.

Great Lakes Have Gotten Greater. Duluth News Tribune reports: “Three of the five Great Lakes are at or above record high water levels for May and the other two are getting close as a winter of heavy snow and a spring of heavy rains continues to flow downstream. And with wet weather now expected to continue for at least the short term, new all-time record lake levels are possible in late summer or early fall when the lakes hit their usual yearly peaks. Lake Superior sat at 183.8 meters at mid-week, above the record May average of 183.7 set in 1986…Lake Superior is so high that, when northeast winds push toward Duluth, the water is flowing upstream against the St. Louis River, flooding boat landings and docks well away from the lake…”

Image credit: News Tribune graphic, source: U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

2″ Away From Top 10 Wettest Spring for MSP. Over 10″ of rain has fallen on the Twin Cities since March 1; 3.38″ above average. At the rate we’re going we may wind up in the Top 10 wettest meteorological springs. Graphic: Praedictix.

2019 Rainfall To Date. Most of the USA is wetter than average, nearly twice as wet as normal for parts of the Upper Midwest and much of the western USA. Only coastal Georgia and the Carolinas, as well as a sliver of the Pacific Northwest, is trending drier than average, to date. More details from Climate Central: “As recent flash flooding in the Southeast made clear, heavy rain just will not stop. Last week, we covered the increase in extreme downpours — single-day rain events that are getting wetter. But this year has also brought longer-lived rain, helping areas of the Mississippi stay above flood stage for at least three months. That’s the longest stretch since the Great Flood of 1927 — the most destructive river flood ever in the modern U.S. Overall, the nation’s year-to-date rainfall is well above average, in line with the increased annual precipitation observed in most of the country.”

Soggy Perspective. Every state east of the Rockies is trending wetter since 1950. Climate Central has more context: “From 1950 to 2018, average annual precipitation has risen in 90% of the U.S. states analyzed. Eighteen states have recorded an increase of five inches or more, led by New Hampshire (7.0 inches), Vermont (7.0 inches), and Indiana (6.6 inches). The eight largest increases have all come in the Northeast and Midwest, where downpours are also intensifying the most. Only five Western states are trending drier, including Oregon, California, Idaho, Washington, and Arizona. Though these decreases are all less than three inches, an inch or two can make a major difference in the drier West (where many states receive less than 25 inches per year). And even for the drier states, single downpours are still getting stronger...”

Drone Footage Show Jefferson City, Missouri Devastation. Fox News has more details on this EF-3 tornado: “Dramatic drone video made public Thursday revealed the extent of the destruction from severe storms that killed at least three people in Missouri Wednesday night. The drones capture the aftermath of an outbreak of nasty storms, which spawned tornadoes that razed homes, flattened trees, tossed cars across a dealership lot and injured about two dozen people in Jefferson City, the state capital. The National Weather Service confirmed that a large and destructive twister moved over Jefferson City shortly before midnight Wednesday. Preliminary information indicated the tornado at was an EF-3 twister, which typically carries winds of up to 160 mph. Meteorologist Cory Rothstein said it’s possible that tornado had a 50-mile path and could have been on the ground for 80 minutes...”

Forecasters Predict Up to 8 Hurricanes in “Near Normal” 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season. TCPalm has details of NOAA’s prediction: “The federal government predicted a near-normal hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin, expecting four to eight hurricanes. A normal season can still be disastrous, since “it only takes one,” warned Neil Jacobs, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which released the forecast. Overall, NOAA said nine to 15 named storms will develop. This number includes tropical storms. A tropical storm contains wind speeds of 39 mph or higher and becomes a hurricane when winds reach 74 mph. Of the four to eight hurricanes, two to four could be major, packing wind speeds of 111 mph or higher…”

Senate Gets It Together (Finally): As of late Friday night Rep. Chip Roy from Texas blocked final passage of the disaster relief bill, as reported by The New York Times. Climate Nexus has details: “The Senate on Thursday passed a long-awaited disaster relief package for communities across the United States struggling in the aftermath of a series of natural disasters. The $19.1 billion in aid includes funds to rebuild military and Coast Guard bases, including Tyndall Air Force base in Florida, an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, and aid to farmers whose crops were devastated by recent flooding in the Midwest. Recovery funds for Puerto Rico, also included in the final legislation, have proved a particularly contentious point of partisan disagreement in recent months, as President Trump has sought to limit funds sent to the island and repeatedly overinflated the amount of aid already sent in the wake of Hurricane Maria.” (New York Times $, Reuters, Wall Street Journal $)

File image: AP.

Here’s How to Build a Hurricane-Resistant House – Not as Expensive as You May Think. has a very interesting story: “...The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety has gone even further. A decade ago it created a “fortified home” standard to protect against hurricanes and hail. It is a voluntary guideline, and so far only 8,000 homes nationwide have built to that designation. Those that do sell for 7% more, according to a University of Alabama study. The standard has three levels, bronze, silver and gold, with the last being the highest protection. Since Florida’s codes are already so high, building to the gold standard there wouldn’t add much to the price of construction. But in areas that have weak codes or lack them altogether, the gold standard would be much more costly…”

Indiana Utilities Are In The Midst of Identity Crisis as Customers Take Power Into Own Hands. Every industry is being disrupted, including the power-generation sector. IndyStar has details: “...Today, the prospect of running your home entirely on electricity produced by you or your community is no longer a fantasy, but a real possibility. As renewable energy technologies become less expensive, ratepayers have started taking generation into their own hands. Homeowners are installing solar panels. Communities are exploring investing in their own, small-scale solar farms. Big businesses — Facebook, General Motors, Cummins — are signing contracts with wind farms. Utilities must adapt, or risk becomingirrelevant. For utilities it means they are becoming less of a power producer and more of a power mover. And the nation’s aging infrastructure, first built in the years after World War II, was not built to accommodate electricity generated by both utilities and their customers. So they have their work cut out for them…”
Image credit: “As renewable energy and natural gas costs decline, it’s harder to justify coal energy. Many utilities also are closing coal-generation plants in Indiana and elsewhere.” Dwight Adams,

The Race is On To Build a Better Battery. A story at Fortune highlights why this quest is so important right now: “…For years, the race to build a better battery was contained to consumer electronics. It was a growing business, but it wasn’t going to reorder capitalism. Now, amid an onslaught of electric cars on the road and renewable electricity on the power grid, the race is gearing up into a corporate and geopolitical death match. It suddenly has the dead-serious attention of many of the planet’s biggest multinationals, particularly auto giants, oil majors, and power producers. Having historically dismissed affordable energy storage as a pipe dream, they now view it as an existential threat—one that, if they don’t harness it, could disintermediate them. It also divides the world’s major economic powers, which see dominance of energy storage in the 21st century as akin to control of coal in the 19th century and of oil in the 20th...”

Voters are Bullish on Electric Vehicles, but There’s a Partisan Gap. Axios explains: “A newly released poll shows partisan differences over electric vehicles but nonetheless has bullish data for those excited about rapid expansion of what’s still a niche market. 44% of voters plan to go electric when they replace their wheels in the next 5 years, including over half of Democrats. Why it matters: EVs are growing fast, but cars with a plug are still in the low single digits of total U.S. car sales.

  • We’ll have to wait and see how many of those “likely” answers actually translate into actual new sales, but it’s still a sign of strong consumer interest...”

Graphic credit: “Climate Nexus poll conducted April 16-17, 2019 among 1,939 registered U.S. voters.” Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios.

How “Game of Thrones” Failed Fantasy. Do you agree? I thought the series was pretty amazing, and I also suspect some of us are taking these shows way too seriously. It’s a TV show, not life or death. And these days everyone really is an entitled critic. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The New York Times: “…In its rush to finish, the show effectively lost sight of both reasons for fantasy’s appeal. The showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, seemed bored with and embarrassed by the magical element of the saga, hustling through the supernatural stuff and declining to explain crucial motivations and purposes, in order to get back to the political material … but then their haste also deprived the political plot of its sociological complexity, its ripped-from-the-pages-of-history plausibility, that was necessary to make the horror and catharsis of the early seasons work

Image credit:

This Toilet Will Predict If You’ll Have Heart Failure. Lovely. Can’t I just check my phone in peace? Daily Beast has details: “…Their resulting toilet seat monitor contains all the tools necessary to spot a heart patient’s degrading health. The seat has three main instruments: an electrocardiogram, which uses electrodes on the seat’s surface to measure the heart’s electrical activity; a photoplethysmogram, the same sensor that’s in a FitBit, which measures the patient’s heart rate; and a ballistocardiogram, which senses a patient’s weight and, based on how it fluctuates when the heart beats, determines the volume of blood passing through the heart. (This works because the heart builds up enough pressure that when it pumps it physically presses down on your body. The RIT team was the first to ever demonstrate that a ballistocardiogram could be used to calculate blood volume passing through the heart.)...”

Photo credit: “Nicholas Conn, a postdoctoral fellow at Rochester Institute of Technology and founder and CEO of Heart Health Intelligence, is part of the team that has developed a toilet-seat based cardiovascular monitoring system.” Courtesy: A. Sue Weisler/RIT.

Impossible Foods’ Rising Empire of Almost-Meat. Have you tried one of these faux-burgers yet? Check out a fascinating story at Engadget; here’s a clip: “…Tasted without accompaniments, the product has a convincing chew and toasty burnt edges but a hollow savoriness at the core. As a meat eater, I would not crave Impossible meat. If I craved a burger, though, this could go part of the way to satisfying the urge. Note that in the Burger King video, the customers’ astoundment hits not when they taste the burger but when they realize they couldn’t tell the difference. This is what’s revolutionary about Impossible’s burger — not that it’s the best you’ve ever tasted but that finally there’s a viable, inoffensive alternative for meat that you can find at a drive-through for less than $6. In the trillion-dollar market for meat, inoffensive is a paradigm shift…”

Take a DNA Test – Get Travel Suggestions! VentureBeat has the story: “Ever heard of heritage travel? It’s when folks pilgrimage to uncover family histories in their forebears’ home cities, towns, and countries. According to a recent survey, about 89% of people in India and 69% of those in France and the U.S. have traveled to at least one country of their ancestry, and many travelers in Australia, India, the U.K., and Brazil say that visiting a place connected with their relatives will be the most important consideration when planning their next vacation. To facilitate these types of trips, global hospitality marketplace and service company Airbnb today announced that it is teaming up with 23andMe, the biotech firm perhaps best known for its personalized genomics reports about family history and health…”

New York to London in 90 Minutes? CNN Travel has the tantalizingly expensive details: “A US start-up has revealed plans to develop a plane that will travel at five times the speed of sound, transporting passengers between New York and London in 90 minutes or less.  Aerospace company Hermeus Corporation, based in Atlanta, said it has obtained finance from seed funders and private investors to develop a plane that will travel at Mach 5 — five times faster than Mach 1, the speed of sound.  If the project succeeds, it could revolutionize commercial transatlantic flights. Currently, air travel between London and New York takes more than seven hours…”

73 F. high in the Twin Cities on Friday.

72 F. average high on May 24.

92 F. on May 24, 2018.

May 25, 2008: An EF-3 tornado strikes Hugo, MN. 1 fatality and 9 injuries are reported.

SATURDAY: Mild sun, PM shower north. Winds: W 8-13. High: 75

SUNDAY: Lukewarm sunshine, best day? Winds: SE 3-8. Wake-up: 52. High: 76

MEMORIAL DAY: Humid with strong T-storms likely. Winds: SW 10-15. Wake-up: 59. High: near 70

TUESDAY: Partly sunny, showers arrive late. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 53. High: 73

WEDNESDAY: Showers taper, slow clearing. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 58. High: 68

THURSDAY: Blue sky, cooler breeze. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 48. High: 62

FRIDAY: Mild sun, risk of T-storms at night. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 51. High: 74

Climate Stories….

New Studies Increase Confidence in Measure of Earth’s Temperature. NASA has the story: “A new assessment of NASA’s record of global temperatures revealed that the agency’s estimate of Earth’s long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures. The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values are likely accurate to within 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit (0.05 degrees Celsius) in recent decades, and 0.27 degrees Fahrenheit (0.15 degrees C) at the beginning of the nearly 140-year record. This data record, maintained by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, is one of a handful kept by major science institutions around the world that track Earth’s temperature and how it has risen in recent decades. This global temperature record has provided one of the most direct benchmarks of how our home planet’s climate has changed as greenhouse gas concentrations rise. The study also confirms what researchers have been saying for some time now: that Earth’s global temperature increase since 1880 – about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, or a little more than 1 degree Celsius – cannot be explained by any uncertainty or error in the data…”

Image credit: “Earth’s long-term warming trend can be seen in this visualization of NASA’s global temperature record, which shows how the planet’s temperatures are changing over time, compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980. The record is shown as a running five-year average.” Credits: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Kathryn Mersmann.

Climate Change is Making Allergy Season Worse. No kidding. Vox has details: “Allergy season is upon us once again. And if it seems as though your allergies are getting worse year after year, it’s not just your imagination. Pollen is a fine powder produced as part of the sexual reproductive cycle of many varieties of plants. It is also the culprit behind the seasonal allergies that one in five Americans suffers from. As climate change warms the planet, pollen season is not only getting more intense, it’s getting longer. What’s more, pollen is becoming more potent for allergic people. This is a problem — whether you suffer from seasonal allergies or not. Check out the video above to find out what effects rising temperatures have on pollen production and how pollen season is changing in your city…”

This AI Shows What Climate Change Could Do To Your House by 2050. Fast Company reports: “Climate change has a NIMBY problem. That’s short for “not in my backyard,” and while the threat of a warming world may finally be getting more social and political traction than ever, for most people it’s still something that happens far away, whether it’s at polar ice caps or on distant islands. That’s why some AI researchers from Montreal decided to create a system for generating hyper-personalized visuals about the impact climate change is likely to have in 50 years. How personalized? Try the most literally “IMBY” visual you can imagine: a picture of your own house, flooded out by rising sea levels...”

Image credit: Mila.

Climate Change, Predicting Floods and the Impact on People. A story at 3NewsNow in Omaha caught my eye: “…Just to give you an idea: The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration shows that from 2008-2018, the average temperature in a place like Omaha rose by 3.3 degrees. This has led to more rain…nearly 4 inches in the same time period. “Not the intensity of the rain but the frequency of intense rainfall throughout the state,” says Krajewski. A warming climate and old levee system is a recipe for disaster…immeasurable for a small-town economy. The center created an incredibly accurate map showing a 100-year flood using the city of Hamburg. It’s accurate to the event in March, right down to the streets…”

Support for Climate Change Policies is a Mile Wide and an Inch Deep. Mother Jones explains the paradox: “…It appears that, while people are generally concerned about societal problems such as climate change, they may not be willing to incur large costs to achieve a solution. With the perceived existence of a low-cost solution (a nudge), motivated reasoning may tempt some to exaggerate its ultimately small environmental impact. This may explain why participants generally thought the nudge was as or more effective at reducing pollution than the carbon tax. However, even those who knew that the carbon tax is more effective than the green energy nudge were discouraged from implementing the tax when a nudge became available, suggesting that crowding-out is not merely the result of incorrect perceptions of relative effectiveness...”

File image: NASA.

Sea Levels May Rise Much Faster Than Previously Predicted, Swamping Coastal Cities. CNN has an overview of new research: “Global sea levels could rise more than two meters (6.6 feet) by the end of this century if emissions continue unchecked, swamping major cities such as New York and Shanghai and displacing up to 187 million people, a new study warns. The study, which was released Monday, says sea levels may rise much faster than previously estimated due to the accelerating melting of ice sheets in both Greenland and Antarctica. The international researchers predict that in the worst case scenario under which global temperatures increase by 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, sea levels could rise by more than two meters (6.6 feet) in the same period — double the upper limit outlined by the UN climate science panel’s last major report. Such a situation would be “catastrophic,” the authors of the study warn...”

File image: Will Brown, Union of Concerned Scientists.

Ice Sheet Contributions to Future Sea Level Rise From Structured Expert Judgment. The paper referenced in the CNN post is here; an excerpt: “Our findings, using SEJ, produce probability distributions with long upper tails that are influenced by interdependencies between processes and ice sheets. We find that a global total SLR exceeding 2 m by 2100 lies within the 90% uncertainty bounds for a high emission scenario. This is more than twice the upper value put forward by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the Fifth Assessment Report…”

Sea Levels Could Rise by 6+ Feet: Headlines and links via Climate Nexus: “Global sea levels could rise by as much as 6.5 feet, around twice the upper limit set out by the IPCC–by the end of the century in a worst-case scenario, experts caution in a new study. The study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is based on expert estimates from 22 scientists and assumes the ongoing melt of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. While the 6.5-foot figure is based on unchecked emissions leading to an additional 5 degrees C of warming, the study’s authors caution that planners should factor in this scenario as they prepare for the future in a warming world. “Coastal decisions by and large require long lead times, and it would be nice if we could wait for the science to clear up, but we can’t,” study author Michael Oppenheimer told InsideClimate News. “If you knew there was a one-third or even 10 percent chance a plane would crash, you wouldn’t get on it. It’s the same with sea level rise.” (InsideClimate News, CNNUSA Today, BBC, New Scientist).

File image: Eric Risberg, AP.