Flash Flood Watch In Effect. Temptation to “Spin the Weekend Forecast”?

The weather is the weather. We do our best to predict it, but Mother Nature always gets the last word.

It’s fairly rare, but every now and then a business owner will ask me to “spin the weather prediction”, to not emphasize a rainy day or stormy weekend. Because (apparently) it’s bad for business.

I get it. Even a forecast of foul weather can cause people to cancel outdoor plans, and weather-sensitive businesses will lose money, whether it rains or not. I sympathize, but our priority is to weigh computer model guidance and accurately summarize weather risk, then let people decide for themselves how to

Another wave of heavy showers and T-storms arrives today with a couple inches of additional rainfall possible by Friday. For that reason the NWS has issued a Flash Flood Watch for central and southern Minnesota. The risk of street and stream flooding will be fairly high today and tonight. Showers and a stiff wind Friday give way to partial clearing Saturday, although a stray late-day T-shower can’t be ruled out.

Dry, increasingly warm weather prevails from Sunday into Wednesday with a string of 80s, possibly 90 degrees. Soak up the warmth; a real cold front is brewing late next week.

Map credit above: Praedictix and AerisWeather. Details on the Flash Flood Watch, which includes the potential for some 2-3″ rainfall amounts by Friday.

12KM NAM Rainfall Prediction. Models are in fairly good alignment, suggesting 1-3″ rainfall amounts for much of the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin by Friday morning. With saturated soil any heavy rain will almost immediately run off into streets and streams, increasing the potential for flash flooding. Map: pivotalweather.com.

ECMWF Rainfall Prediction. The European model prints out 1-2″ rainfall totals by Friday morning for much of central and southern Minnesota; a few 3″+ amounts for far southwestern Minnesota. Map: WeatherBell.

Fall Color Update. Will unusually wet weather take the edge off the color in a few weeks? Possibly. There are pockets of color out there now, mainly sugar maples. Click here for the latest update from the Minnesota DNR.

Temperature Correction by Late September? Unusual warmth early next week may give way to a sharp drop in temperature the last week of the month as a monster ridge of high pressure sets up over the western USA and Canada, with jet stream winds buckling in a configuration that will bring a slap of chilly air into the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes.

Another Tropical Threat? NHC suggests a 70% chance of tropical development in the next 5 days. Stay tuned for updates.

Dorian’s Claim to Fame: 36 Hours of Pummeling Just One Spot. Two (apparent) trends: rapid intensification and a slow-down in the forward motion of hurricanes, more of a tendency for big storms to stall for extended periods (Harvey and Florence, now Dorian). Here’s a clip from Bloomberg: “Dorian wasn’t the deadliest or costliest hurricane to roam the Atlantic, but the two days it was stalled over the Bahamas, devastating the island nation, made it unique. “There has never been anything like it,” Ryan Truchelut, chief meteorologist at WeatherTiger LLC in Tallahassee, Florida, said in an interview. “We’ve never seen a Category 5 storm stall like that over one point for 36 hours. The energy it unleashed in such a small area has never happened before in the Atlantic.” The Bahamas, which were hit with 180 mile-per-hour winds and 2 feet or more of rain, “were extremely unlucky, and Florida dodged a bullet,” he said…”

Photo credit: “An aerial view of floods and damages from Hurricane Dorian on Freeport, Grand Bahama on Sept. 5.” Photographer: Adam Delgiudice/AFP.

“Grand Bahama Right Now is Dead”. A Firsthand Look at Dorian’s Destruction. CNN reports: “…There is no power or running water. Aid is arriving slowly on the island of Grand Bahama, where Dorian parked for almost two days and caused damage one usually witnesses in a war zone. It’s impossible to fully capture the devastation we see every day. We’re only about 80 miles from Florida, but the miles of rubble Dorian left in its wake have made this part of the Bahamas feel as remote as any place on Earth. On August 30, CNN sent the three of us to Freeport, on Grand Bahama, to cover the storm. The trip was so last-minute that we bought many of the staples of hurricane coverage at an airport newsstand: beef jerky, peanut butter and as many water bottles as we could carry…”

Reaction to Weather Map Tampering Weakens Critical Agencies. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from The Star Tribune Editorial Board: “What could have been a minor blunder — President Donald Trump’s tweet that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian — has now turned into a major failure for his administration, one that calls into question the very integrity of agencies on which this country depends. It was bad enough when Trump, true to form, refused to back down from a tweet in which he attempted to play meteorologist-in-chief, claiming that “Alabama will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated.” The good folks at the Birmingham, Ala., National Weather Service, of course did the right thing, countering the unfounded assertion and spreading calm by noting correctly that Dorian would remain too far east to be a threat…”

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla – TNS. “President Donald Trump referenced a map held by acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan while talking to reporters about Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 4, 2019.”

“Fighting for Water to Bathe – Water to Drink”. Some of the survivor accounts are harrowing and heartbreaking. CNN.com has the story – here’s an excerpt: “...A friend of hers hadn’t seen her children since the storm hit, she said. Edward Christian Sawyer III told CNN he and his family survived on Abaco by tying themselves together with an electrical cord and making their way together up a hill through the wind and water to get to his sister’s house on a hill, from his mother’s house nearby. “If we hadn’t done that, a few of us could have blown away,” he said. His mother’s house was destroyed, knocked off its foundation and flattened, he said. Sawyer said he went four days without food, and woke up every day just “praying to God you get off that rock,” he said. “It was hell...”

The Great Flood of 2019: A Look at a Slow-Motion Disaster. The New York Times (paywall) has an amazing infographic with some much-needed perspective. Here’s a clip: “...Back in March, Edward Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center, said that what lay ahead was a “potentially unprecedented” flood season, even worse than the Great Flood of 1993. In a recent interview, Mr. Clark said, with no satisfaction, “Yes, we got it right.” Of the 976 U.S. Geological Survey gauges in the region, 619 recorded higher peaks this year than in 1993. “This is a year that will remain in our cultural memory, in our history,” he said.”

“Gas Plants Will Get Crushed by Wind, Solar by 2035, Study Says. Details via Bloomberg: “Natural gas-fired power plants, which have crushed the economics of coal, are on the path to being undercut themselves by renewable power and big batteries, a study found. By 2035, it will be more expensive to run 90% of gas plants being proposed in the U.S. than it will be to build new wind and solar farms equipped with storage systems, according to the report Monday from the Rocky Mountain Institute. It will happen so quickly that gas plants now on the drawing boards will become uneconomical before their owners finish paying for them, the study said...”

Image credit: TechCrunch.

Americans Skeptical of UFO’s but Say Government Knows More. Here’s are a couple of excerpts from Gallup.com: “As an internet campaign called “Storm Area 51” has nearly two million people pledging to break into a highly secure military base later this month in the hopes of uncovering possible secrets about UFOs, a recent Gallup poll finds two-thirds of Americans believe the government knows more about the subject than it has conveyed.

  • 33% of U.S. adults believe that some UFO sightings over the years have in fact been alien spacecraft visiting Earth from other planets or galaxies.
  • The majority, 60%, are skeptical, saying that all UFO sightings can be explained by human activity or natural phenomenon, while another 7% are unsure.
  • 16% of Americans say they have personally witnessed something they thought was a UFO while the vast majority (84%) have not.

Even as most Americans are skeptical that aliens have visited Earth, the majority (56%) believe that those who spot UFOs are seeing something real, not just imagining it...”

On 9/11, Luck Meant Everything. The Atlantic has a powerful reminder of that dark day; here’s a clip: “…Over millennia, we’ve called “luck” and “fate” by many names, often intertwining the concepts with the unseen hand of Providence. In mythology, the three Fates were goddesses who handed out destiny at birth, weaving a future that each mortal would be forced to live out inexorably—the concept of fate serving for many as a necessary explanation for the random cruelties, vicissitudes, and lucky breaks that determine so much of how life plays out. That individuals might just blunder into these events for no reason at all was, for the ancient Greeks, just too bleak a thought. Yet it’s hard to come away from the stories of 9/11 with a sense of anything other than an appreciation for the role randomness plays in our daily existence—There but for the grace of God go I, as the 16th-century clergyman John Bradford is said to have phrased it—and how it can change the course of history...”

1.24″ rain fell at Twin Cities International Airport yesterday.

67 F. high yesterday at MSP.

74 F. average high on September 11.

83 F. high on September 11, 2018.

September 12, 1982: Two tornadoes touch down in Benton County. The F2 tornado causes $250,000 worth of damage, and an F0 tornado causes $25,000.

September 12, 1931: The fifth consecutive day of 90 degrees or above occurs in the Minneapolis area.

September 12, 1923: Winter weather pays an early visit to northern Minnesota. The cities of Roseau and Virginia receive flurries and sleet.

September 12, 1903: 4.96 inches of rain fall in the Minneapolis area.

September 12, 1869: A hail storm between 1 and 3 am breaks windows and causes considerable damage to late vegetables at Madilia in Watonwan County. (Source: Twin Cities National Weather Service).

THURSDAY: Flash Flood Watch. Heavy showers, T-storms, locally heavy rain. Winds: SE 10-20. High: 68

FRIDAY: Windy with a few showers. Winds: W 15-30. Wake-up: 56. High: 66

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, stray PM T-shower. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 53. High: 74

SUNDAY: Sunnier, drier and warmer. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 62. High: near 80

MONDAY: Warm sunshine, a bit sticky. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 64. High: 84

TUESDAY: Hello July. Hot, hazy sunshine. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 69. High: 87

WEDNESDAY: Clouds increase, still toasty. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 71. High: 86

Climate Stories….

“I’m a Conservative Republican. Climate Change is Real.” POLITICO.com has a post from a GOP Congressman in Florida; here’s an excerpt: “…I’m from a coastal district that is directly affected by these issues every day. In fact, my home state of Florida is ground zero for the adverse effects of climate change. As these extreme weather events increase in frequency and intensity, Congress — especially my Republican colleagues — needs to recognize the costs, disruptions and global security risks that climate change will bring to both our domestic and foreign policy, and the federal budget. Americans are experiencing these disasters firsthand, and these personal experiences are informing their views on climate change regardless of their age or party affiliation. According to a poll conducted by Monmouth University in 2018, 78 percent of Americans believe the world’s climate is undergoing a change that is causing more extreme weather patterns and sea level rise. That same poll showed that 64 percent of Republicans surveyed believe in climate change, a 15-point increase from poll results just three years earlier…”

File image: NASA.

The World is in a Water Crisis, and Climate Change is Making it Worse. Here’s an excerpt of a press release from The Union of Concerned Scientists: “…Within the U.S., 13 percent of the country’s area currently experiences ‘high’ water stress, and 7 percent faces ‘extremely high’ water stress; business as usual projections for 2040 estimate a change to 10 percent and 24 percent for these categories, respectively. Water stress conditions currently experienced only in certain areas of the California Central Valley could dramatically expand to other states by 2040, including New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Kansas, and Nebraska. Presently, three (Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Diego) of the top ten most populous cities in the US–home to about 7 million people–are within ‘extremely high’ water stress regions. About 80 percent of the water used in Los Angeles comes from other areas, including the Colorado River and Northern California…”

Map credit: “Baseline water stress and projected water stress following a business as usual scenario to 2040 in the United States.” Data source: https://www.wri.org/aqueduct.

Are Category 5 Hurricanes Such as Hurricane Dorian the New Normal? Here’s the intro to an analysis at USA TODAY: “Category 5 Hurricane Dorian tore through the Bahamas like a buzz saw last week, killing dozens of people and leaving a ruined, broken landscape. It was the fifth Category 5 hurricane in the past four Atlantic hurricane seasons, joining other monsters such as Matthew, Irma, Maria andMichael, each of which left its own trail of death and destruction. Is this part of a new trend? Could this be the “new normal”? “I fear it’s worse than that,” Penn State University meteorologist Michael Mann said. “As we continue to warm the planet, hurricane intensities will increase further. There’s no new normal. It’s an ever-shifting baseline toward more destructive storms as long as we continue to burn fossil fuels and load the atmosphere with carbon pollution…”

Image credit: NOAA.

Experts Say Adapting to Climate Change Can Pay Off Manifold. The Seattle Times reports: ” A group of leaders from business, politics and science have called for a massive investment in adapting to climate change over the next decade, arguing it would reap significant returns as countries avoid catastrophic losses and boost their economies. The Global Commission on Adaptation, comprising dozens of prominent figures including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, urged governments and businesses to tackle the inevitable consequences of climate change, in addition to trying to curb it. In their 81-page report released Tuesday, the experts proposed investing $1.8 trillion between 2020 and 2030 in areas such as early warning systems, infrastructure that can withstand rising sea levels and extreme weather, and boosting agriculture to cope with droughts…”

Photo credit: “Valentino Ingraham washes clothing to remove salt and dirt amid the rubble of his mother’s property destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in Rocky Creek East End, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. The motors of his family’s boats were also destroyed.” (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa).

Climate Matters For Texas Voters: Climate Nexus has headlines and URLs: “A new poll shows that Texans are increasingly concerned about climate change, the Houston Chronicle reports. The poll, conducted by Climate Nexus, the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that more than 60 percent of Texas voters are worried about climate change and almost two-thirds of voters support government action on the issue. Two-thirds of voters also said they support developing more renewable energy sources as “the top priority for addressing Texas’s energy needs.” The poll comes as the Texan Democratic party is gearing up to galvanize voters ahead of 2020 for key wins in the Republican stronghold. Texas voters are “fired up about affordable healthcare, ending gun violence, reversing climate change, and protecting our diverse communities,” Texas Democratic Party deputy executive Cliff Walker said in a statement.” (Poll: Houston Chronicle $. Democratic party: Reuters, The Hill)

Dangerous New “Hot Zones” Are Spreading Around the World. The Washington Post reports: “…The South Atlantic blob is part of a global trend: Around the planet, enormous ocean currents are traveling to new locations. As these currents relocate, waters are growing warmer. Scientists have found similar hot spots along the western stretches of four other oceans — the North Atlantic, the North Pacific, the South Pacific, and the Indian. A Washington Post analysis of multiple temperature data sets found numerous locations around the globe that have warmed by at least 2 degrees Celsius over the past century. That’s a number that scientists and policymakers have identified as a red line if the planet is to avoid catastrophic and irreversible consequences. But in regions large and small, that point has already been reached…”

Kids Are Back to Schooling Us on Climate Change. Here’s a clip from Grist: “…It’s September: Pumpkin spice is (already?!) in the air, northern states are beginning to mourn the long days of summer, and kids everywhere are headed back to school. Well, until September 20, at least. That’s the date of the global climate strike, a youth-led effort to get kids and grown-ups alike to call in sick-of-this-shit. This won’t be the first time the rest of us have been schooled by a bunch of teens when it comes to climate action. In fact, the seven-hour climate town hall held on CNN earlier this week was a surreal, unprecedented culmination of the work youth activists have done to push for more climate-crisis air time. As a climate obsessive since 1989, I gotta say … these kids are better than alright...”

Greta Thunberg’s New York Visit Inspires Young Climate Activists. The Washington Post has details: “Every Friday starting last December, 14-year-old Alexandria Villaseñor sat on a bench on 47th Street in Manhattan outside the United Nations. She was protesting adults and governments refusing to act on climate change. Sometimes she was joined by a few other young people. Recently she tweeted, “WEEK 37 … I’m alone like when I started.” But on August 30, Alexandria was alone no longer. She was joined by hundreds of kids, teens, 20-somethings — and Greta Thunberg. Greta is the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist and founder of the Fridays for Future movement. She was the inspiration for Alexandria to walk out of school every week, to call attention to what the girls call our planet’s climate emergency. Greta will speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23…”

Photo credit: “Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, second from left, and American climate activist Alexandria Villaseñor, third from left, answers a question during a demonstration in front of the United Nations on Friday in New York. Greta traveled by sailboat to New York to speak at the U.N. Climate Change Summit on September 23.” (Richard Drew/AP).

Earth to CEO: Your Company is Already At Risk from Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from McKinsey’s & Co. Sustainability Practice, courtesy of Fortune Magazine: “Does your business treat climate change as a far-off risk, something for the future but not a priority today?  That’s a mistake. Climate change is here. Its economic impact is real and growing, and action now is essential. Look at Florida’s tidal flooding, for example. Waters rose above the “nuisance” threshold in parts of Miami-Dade 14 days a year on average between 2005 and 2017, more than triple the rate of the 11 years prior. Or consider extreme heat like we saw this summer across Europe and are increasingly experiencing globally. In northern India, summer temperatures are hitting 120 degrees Fahrenheit, shutting down outdoor work in cities and entire regions for days at a time. Or agricultural degradation: In some parts of Brazil, the usual two-crop growing season may now only yield a single crop. Around the world, the list goes on and on…”