A Break From Sweaty Thunder Into The Weekend

Curtains of rain kept many pontoons and ski boats away from yesterday’s 4th of July flotilla boat parade on Pelican Lake. Frankly, this time of year I’m pleasantly surprised if it isn’t raining.

With a sun angle as high as it gets, churning up a moisture-rich environment, thundery lumps forming in a tropical atmosphere are bound to cause problems. Many farms in southern Minnesota are under water; farmers unable to get into their fields.

According to NOAA flooding is the costliest natural disaster in the USA, with $268 billion in damage in 2017. Every state in the union has experienced at least 2 major floods in the last 10 years.

A north breeze clears skies and drops dew points today; a welcome dry stretch from today into the weekend.

Computer models bring another surge of Las Vegas ambiance into Minnesota next week. ECMWF predicts at least 4 days above 90F. Midweek heat indices may exceed 100F.

Note to self: if you felt cheated by April blizzards and an annoyingly late ice-out, you’ll be happy to hear we’ll get our money’s worth of heat and humidity this summer.

Smoking Hot 4th of July. Check out the 4 PM heat indices yesterday, courtesy of NOAA and mesonet.org.

Hot Streak Continues in June. Dr. Mark Seeley writes at Minnesota WeatherTalk: “...On a statewide basis June of 2018 will rank among the warmest 10 historically. For the Twin Cities June 2018 will probably rank just outside the warmest 10 historically. Only three days during the month produced below normal temperatures. Nearly all areas of Minnesota were wetter than normal during June, especially in southern counties, where many climate stations reported from 5 to 10 inches for the month. Some south-central and southwestern counties reported 10 to 13 inches of rain, topped by Lake Wilson (Murray County) with 13.09 inches. For observers in St James, Amboy, and New Ulm it was the wettest June in their historical records. Over 50 daily rainfall records were broken or tied within the state climate network…”

Peak Summer is Here. And with the heat comes severe storms and flooding rains – here’s a clip from The Star Tribune: “Douglas predicts the Twin Cities could rack up more 90-degree days than normal through September. The Twin Cities averages about 13 of those days in the summer but Douglas said this summer could see 20 to 25 of those high-heat days. The Twin Cities already has hit 90 degrees nine times this year, he said. “We’ll see two or three more of those days next week,” Douglas said. “Historically, the first and second week of July are the hottest of summer.” Meanwhile, June and early July are usually the wettest. That means Minnesota may start drying out in the next few weeks, Douglas said. “That’s more of a prayer than a prediction,” he said.”

More Broiling Heat Next Week. ECMWF guidance shows low to mid 90s for highs much of next week with a heat index exceeding 100F a few days. Graphic: WeatherBell.

Kids in Hot Cars: Tragic Misconceptions. All parents and caregivers are capable of a tragic oversight, data shows. An American Meteorological Society post at The Front Page caught my eye with some surprising findings: “…Because leaving children unattended in cars is illegal in some states, one might think these deaths are a case of bad parents making bad decisions. Yet less than one in five of these hyperthermia deaths is because a parent intentionally left the child in the car to, say, run errands. Null’s statistics show that about 400 (54%) of the 760+ heat stroke deaths since 1998 occur when caregivers forget a child is in the car. Almost 30% of the deaths occur when children climb unattended into the cars by themselves and get locked in. But perhaps the most insidious misconception is that unfit—or forgetful or distracted or hurried or overworked—parents are the most susceptible to being forgetful about such an important matter…”

Possible Tornado in the Bemidji Area Wednesday Evening? The Bemidji Pioneer reports: “A possible tornado may have touched down in Bemidji on Wednesday morning.Beltrami County Emergency Management Director Chris Muller said about 12 square blocks of the city were affected during the weather event, which happened at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday. Numerous trees and power lines were downed in the area, and trees were seen on houses, cars, as well as on roads and alleyways...”

Photo credit: “A garage behind a home on America Court Northwest was lifted during a storm early Wednesday in Bemidji.” (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer).

EF-1 Tornado Confirmed. The Grand Forks office of the National Weather Service confirmed an EF-1 tornado in the North Woods of Minnesota; estimated winds close to 100 mph. Details here.

More Stadiums Turn to Solar Energy. Because it’s saving them money, because there’s a real ROI. Here’s a clip from Daily Energy Insider: “Professional teams have installed more than 46 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity at 37 arenas or stadiums. Every sports league in the country, including the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball (MLB), NHL, Major League Soccer (MLS), NASCAR and IndyCar uses solar energy. Specifically, one third of the NFL stadiums has solar energy, while about 30 percent of MLB and NBA facilities use it. Overall, nearly 42 million Americans attended an event at a stadium, arena or raceway last year with a solar energy system. “This data is further proof that solar energy is a meaningful contributor to America’s energy portfolio,” SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said...”

This Photo of a Thunderstorm and the Milky Way Will Leave You Star-Struck. The Capital Weather Gang explains how this remarkable photo was taken: “Star-struck by this photo? I know I am. Explosive storms in the summer night sky are stunning on their own, but add the Milky Way rising above the storm, and the result is breathtaking. “I have captured photos of stars above distant thunderstorms before,” photographer Cory Mottice wrote on his blog, “but I never imagined I would be able to capture the Milky Way above a nearby thunderstorm.” He got his chance while storm chasing in eastern Montana on June 4. The timing and location had to be perfect for him to capture the Milky Way positioned over an explosive thunderstorm, and he nailed it...”

Photo credit: “The Milky Way looms above a storm in Montana.” (Cory Mottice).

Coffee May Boost Longevity. Star Tribune explains why you may want to include java in your diet: “Go ahead and have that cup of coffee, maybe even several more. New research shows it may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily. In a study of nearly half-a-million British adults, coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers. The apparent longevity boost was seen with instant, ground and decaffeinated, results that echo U.S. research. It’s the first large study to suggest a benefit even in people with genetic glitches affecting how their bodies use caffeine. Overall, coffee drinkers were about 10 percent to 15 percent less likely to die than abstainers during a decade of follow-up. Differences by amount of coffee consumed and genetic variations were minimal…”

Boeing’s Proposed Hypersonic, Mach 5 Plane is Really, REALLY Fast. I hope I live long enough to take a flight in one of these – wow. WIRED.com has details: “…The craft would travel at up to Mach 5, enabling it to cross the Atlantic Ocean in just two hours and the Pacific in three. (A merely supersonic aircraft flying between Mach 1 and Mach 2 would take an hour or two longer.)The plane is fast, but it could have been even faster. “We settled on Mach 5 version,” says Kevin Bowcutt, Boeing’s senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics, noting that exceeding Mach 5, or about 3,800 mph, requires far more advanced engines and materials. Plus, it’s not worth it. “This aircraft would allow you to fly across the ocean and back in one day, which is all most people would want. So why go past those boundaries and complicate it?…”

Image credit: “It would cruise at 95,000 feet, at 3,800 miles per hour. The G-force feeling upon takeoff would last a full 12 minutes.” Boeing

Is Bezos Holding Seattle Hostage? The Cost of Being Amazon’s Home. A story at The Guardian caught my eye: “…Amazon has remade Seattle in many ways beyond new buildings. The city’s population has surged by about 40% since the company was founded, and nearly 20,000 people a year are moving there, often drawn by the company and its orbit. The tech industry has brought higher-paying jobs, with its average salary about $100,000. But that is twice as much as half the workers in the city earn, and the latter’s spending power is dropping sharply, creating a clear economic divide between some of the city’s population and the new arrivals...”

Photo credit: “Protesters march with a sign depicting Jeff Bezos as a mechanical robot as they walk near Amazon’s annual meeting of shareholders in May.” Photograph: Ted S. Warren/AP.

A Divided America Does Not Mean Another Civil War. Well, that’s vaguely reassuring. Here’s an excerpt from The Observer: “…The reason the Confederate rebellion against the federal government metastasized into a full-fledged civil war was because the standing U.S. Army in 1861 was so small, just 16,000 soldiers who were mostly spread out in garrisons on the Western frontier, that Washington, D.C. lacked the power to put down the rebels quickly. For want of military force and speed, the rebellion spread across the South, with 11 states eventually seceding from the Union. Things are vastly different today. Anybody unwise enough to seriously take up arms against Uncle Sam on home turf would be crushed overnight by the full might of our armed forces, which have 1.3 million men and women on active duty. Unlike in 1861, our states lack their own freestanding militias—despite lip service to state authority, our National Guard is fully integrated into the U.S. military—so there’s no force to even rebel against Washington. The notion that anybody could get even a brigade’s worth of organized troops to rebel against the Feds is an online hothouse fantasy, not political or military reality…” (Graphic credit: Newsonia.)

Safest Country on the Planet? Singapore. We are #35! Woo Hoo!! CNN.com has results of a recent Gallup poll: “...It asked citizens of 142 countries about their confidence in local policing, feelings of safety while walking alone and personal experiences of crime. So which is seen as safest? Perhaps it’s no surprise that Singapore leads the way, with several Nordic nations also scoring highly. Some lesser known destinations also feature prominently: Fifth place goes to Uzbekistan. “We wanted to know whether or not people had fear in their society, and the way that we decided we would gauge that would be through asking people,” Jon Clifton, global managing partner at Gallup, tells CNN Travel…”

* The actual (PDF) report is here.

Gaming Disorder is Only a Symptom of a Much Larger Problem. Check out a story at The Washington Post: “…Nearly all teens, as well as most adults, have been profoundly affected by the increasing predominance of electronic devices in our lives. Many people suspect that today’s teens spend much more time with screens and much less time with their peers face-to-face than did earlier generations, and my analysis of numerous large surveys of teens of various ages shows this to be true: The number of 17- and 18-year-olds who get together with their friends every day, for example, dropped by more than 40 percent between 2000 and 2016. Teens are also sleeping less, with sleep deprivation spiking after 2010...”

Is Apple, the Company, a Conscious Organism? I thought you’d never ask. Food for thought from Quartz: “…According to all these definitions of consciousness, I think you would probably agree that you are conscious. And it seems to me that, according to these definitions, we are justified in saying that Apple is conscious in a way that’s closer to being literally true than just metaphorical. But how do we prove it? First, let’s define the supermind called Apple as including all the employees of Apple, Inc., along with all the machines, buildings, and other resources the employees use to do their work. Is this group conscious?…”

Photo credit: “All mighty.” (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan).

The Sport World Needs Its #MeToo Moment. So says the author of a story at New York Magazine; here’s an excerpt: “…In the worlds of politics, media, entertainment, restaurants, being accused of sexual misconduct of almost any form has led to an immediate (if hardly fatal) reckoning, with high-profile men losing their jobs, having their ongoing projects canceled, losing sponsors and prominent positions. But in sports, this has not happened. Not only have there been shockingly few stories that have come out about prominent athletes and sports figures behaving awfully or criminally toward women, but when one does come out, the reaction has been decidedly, profoundly different than in other fields…”

.67″ rain fell at MSP International Airport on Wednesday.

83 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities. Clouds and rain kept it cooler than predicted.

83 F. average high on July 4.

86 F. high on July 4, 2017.

July 5, 1999: Flooding occurs over the Arrowhead. The largest 24-hour rainfall total is 8.84 inches in central St. Louis County.

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, less humid. Winds: NW 8-13. High: 83

THURSDAY NIGHT: Clear and quiet. Low: 64

FRIDAY: Bright sunshine, fairly comfortable. Winds: SE 5-10. High: 81

SATURDAY: Sunny and warmer. Winds: S 10-15. Wake-up: 65. High: 85

SUNDAY: Get thee to a lake, stat. Hot sunshine. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 68. High: 89

MONDAY: Sticky sun, a few stray T-storms. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 70. High: 91

TUESDAY: Steamy sunshine, isolated storm. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 73. High: 93

WEDNESDAY: Tropical heat, T-storms up north. Winds: SW 10-20. Wake-up: 74. High: 95

Climate Stories….

Red-Hot Planet. All-Time Heat Records Have Been Set All Over the World During the Past Week. The Capital Weather Gang has details; here’s an excerpt: “…A massive and intense heat dome has consumed the eastern two-thirds of the United States and southeast Canada since late last week. It’s not only been hot but also exceptionally humid. Here are some of the notable all-time records set:

Image credit: University of Maine Climate Reanalyzer.

Climate Change Explains Brightening of Night-Shining Clouds. A story at UPI.com caught my eye: “…Simulations showed an increase in global methane emissions has increased the amount of water vapor in the mesosphere, encouraging higher rates of ice formation, thus boosting the brightness of noctilucent clouds. The clouds have always been there, scientists say. But as they get brighter, they’re more likely to be seen from Earth’s surface. The clouds only form in the mid to high latitudes during the summertime, when mesospheric temperatures are low enough for ice formation. The clouds only appear during dawn and dusk, when the rising and falling sun illuminate the high-altitude clouds from below...”

Image credit: “Noctilucent clouds are only seen during dawn and dusk, when the rising and setting sun illuminate the ice crystals from below.” Photo by NASA.

Climate Change Brought a Lobster Boom. Now It Could Bring a Bust. The New York Times reports: “…Since the early 1980s, climate change had warmed the Gulf of Maine’s cool waters to the ideal temperature for lobsters, which has helped grow Maine’s fishery fivefold to a half-billion-dollar industry, among the most valuable in the United States. But last year the state’s lobster landings dropped by 22 million pounds, to 111 million. Now, scientists and some fishermen are worried that the waters might eventually warm too much for the lobsters, and are asking how much longer the boom can last…”

Anthony Kennedy’s Replacement Could Make It Harder to Fight Climate Change. Vox explains why changes in the Supreme Court could ultimately impact how climate change regulations are implemented (and litigated): “…A new Supreme Court judge probably won’t overturn the legal basis for fighting climate change, but may weaken it According to Lazarus, the court doesn’t typically revisit past cases unless there is a major constitutional question in play. The debate around the Massachusetts v. EPA decision centers on interpreting the language of the Clean Air Act (not a major constitutional question). What a new Supreme Court justice could do is help limit how this applies, like denying private citizens standing to sue the government in federal court for injuries stemming from failing to adequately address climate change. Such rulings would narrow the real-world impacts of the court’s environmental judgments, which conservatives would celebrate...”

File image: NASA.

Could Climate Change Lead to the Extinction of Bees? A story at Newsweek.com caught my eye: “The survival of bees is hanging in the balance. Some species are dying off at a record pace, and toxic agricultural chemicals might be to blame. There seem to be many threats to these winged creatures, but climate change may be the final straw for some bee species. If the Earth continues to warm and bees don’t find a way to adapt, some populations could face extinction, according to new research. A team of scientists found that 30 to 70 percent of mason bees died when they heated up the bees’ environments. This reveals that if temperatures continue to climb, bee populations could begin to die off at faster rates, disrupting ecosystems worldwide, said Paul CaraDonna, an ecologist at Northwestern University…”

More perspective on bees and a rapidly changing climate from Science Daily.

Half of South Asia Living in Vulnerable Climate “Hot Spots” : World Bank. We may be getting just a taste of the migration yet to come. Reuters has the details: “A World Bank report released on Thursday analyses two scenarios – “climate sensitive”, based on collective action by nations to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and “carbon intensive”, which assumes no action on climate change. The report combines future changes in temperature and rainfall with household survey data linking living standards to weather conditions for the first time. More than 800 million people now live in areas predicted to become moderate-to-severe “hotspots”, or affected areas, by 2050 under the carbon intensive scenario, with India accounting for almost three quarters of them, the report said…”

File photo credit: “People wade through a flooded road after heavy rains in Ahmedabad, India, June 24, 2018.” REUTERS/Amit Dave/File photo.