Weather Angle to Spiking Cases of Covid-19?

It’s probably safe to assume there is more we don’t know about Covid-19 than we pretend to know. Like peeling an infinite onion, every day brings a new discovery and more speculation.

A couple months ago some experts predicted/hoped that summer sunshine, heat and humidity would slow the spread of the virus. Then why are cases spiking again in the hottest southern states, from Florida to Arizona? One emerging theory: it’s too hot to be outdoors. More people in sweltering climates are spending more time indoors, where close proximity to people (and HVAC systems?) may be increasing infection rates. Stay tuned.

An isolated instability shower can’t be ruled out today (isolated implies less than 5 percent of the state will get wet). 80s return Thursday with PM T-storms, in fact showers and storms spill into much of Friday before skies clear just in time for weekend fun.

Expect lake-worthy 80s this weekend, and NOAA’s GFS model is SHOUTING 90s for the 4th of July weekend. I like my holidays hot and sweaty.

Miami skyline credit: Paul Douglas.

Warming Up. Temperatures moderate as we push into the weekend; by Sunday metro temperatures should be flirting with 90 degrees. June is, historically, the wettest month of the year, but this year monsoon rains are being evened out by sunshine and a drier pattern, overall – allowing temperatures to climb higher. Map sequence: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

4th of July Heat Spike? It’s early, but GFS is suggesting a few 90s timed for the 4th of July holiday weekend. Today is the last semi-comfortable day in sight; temperatures trend above average for the next 2 weeks. ECMWF (top) and GFS (bottom) for MSP courtesy of WeatherBell.

Southwestern USA Heat Wave. Peering out 2 weeks over the horizon suggests seasonably warm temperatures for Minnesota, with the epicenter of heat cooking much of the west from California to Texas.

Warm, Windblown June. Some interesting statistics from Dr. Mark Seeley at Minnesota WeatherTalk: “…The windiness continues to be remarkable for the month, though it has abated somewhat in the north. Many days have seen an average wind speed of 15 mph or greater, while most days have brought maximum wind gusts over 30 mph. The list below shows the number of days with wind gusts of 30 mph or greater:

MSP 17 days

Redwood Falls 14 days

St Cloud 13 days...”

Heat and Fire Scorches Siberia. Probably not a good signal. NASA’s Earth Observatory has details: “Eastern Siberia is famous for some of the coldest wintertime temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. But in 2020, it has been the region’s wildly high temperatures and wildfires that have wowed meteorologists. After several months of warm weather, the Russian town of Verkhoyansk reported a daytime temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) on June 20—likely a record high for the town. (The previous high was 37.3°C, recorded on July 25, 1988.) “This event seems very anomalous in the last hundred years or so,” said NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Director Gavin Schmidt. “The background trends in temperature in this region are about 3 degrees Celsius since the 19th century, so the probabilities of breaking records there are increasing fast...”

Hottest Arctic Temperature Record Likely Set in Siberian Town. Capital Weather Gang has details: “A northeastern Siberian town is likely to have set a record for the highest temperature documented in the Arctic Circle, with a reading of 100.4 degrees (38 Celsius) recorded Saturday in Verkhoyansk, north of the Arctic Circle and about 3,000 miles east of Moscow. Records at that location have been kept since 1885. If verified, this would be the northernmost 100-degree reading ever observed, and the highest temperature on record in the Arctic, a region that is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the globe. On Sunday, the same location recorded a high temperature of 95.3 degrees (35.2 Celsius), showing the Saturday reading was not an anomaly. The average June high temperature in Verkhoyansk is just 68 degrees (20 Celsius)...”

Satellites Have Drastically Changed How We Forecast Hurricanes. NASA has details and a terrific video: “The powerful hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900, killing an estimated 8,000 people and destroying more than 3,600 buildings, took the coastal city by surprise. This video looks at advances in hurricane forecasting in the 120 years since, with a focus on the contributions from weather satellites. This satellite technology has allowed us to track hurricanes – their location, movement and intensity. “One of the dramatic impacts is that satellite data keeps an eye on the target,” especially over unpopulated areas such as oceans, said JPSS Director Greg Mandt. “We’re sort of like your eyes in the sky to make sure that Mother Nature can never surprise you.” A fleet of Earth-observing satellites, including those from the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite series (GOES-R), provides remarkable advances in hurricane forecasting…”

Image credit: “This video looks at advances in hurricane forecasting, with a focus on the contributions from weather satellites.” Credits: NASA/ Jefferson Beck.

“Major Vulnerability”. EV Hacks Could Threaten Power Grid. Here’s an excerpt from E&E News: “The spread of electric vehicles is melding parts of the U.S. power and transportation sectors — and posing a unique problem for grid cybersecurity, experts warn. The two industries are connected by powerful chargers, known as electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE), that could offer ways for hackers to disrupt the grid. “You do reach a tipping point where you’ve got so much load on the grid provided by these chargers, that if you could control it and manipulate them in aggregate, you would start to see power system problems,” said Jay Johnson, principal manager of technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories. Johnson and his team at Sandia are exploring ways to prevent such a grid attack, which would take a difficult and coordinated effort to pull off...”

2003 file image: Associated Press.

77 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

81 F. average high on June 23.

76 F. high on June 23, 2019.

June 24, 2002: Heavy rains fall on already saturated ground, leading to flooding. 5.50 inches fall at Delano, and half of a mobile home park at Howard Lake is evacuated due to rising water.

June 24, 1972: Frost develops across northeast Minnesota. Duluth has a low of 35 and Tower bottoms out at 32.

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and breezy. Winds: NW 10-20. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 78

THURSDAY: Sunny start, PM T-storms arrive. Winds: SW 5-10. Wake-up: 61. High: 85

FRIDAY: Showers and T-storms, some heavy. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 67. High: 81

SATURDAY: Warm sunshine, lake-worthy. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 65. High: 85

SUNDAY: Sunny, on the cusp of hot. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 68. High: 87

MONDAY: Sticky sun, slight T-storm risk. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 70. High: 84

TUESDAY: Sticky, few T-storms in the area. Winds: SE 10-20. Wake-up: 69. High: 86

Climate Stories…

Pew Research Poll Finds Most Americans Want Government to Do More to Fight Climate Change. Here’s the intro to a Washington Post (paywall) story: “Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government should act more aggressively to combat climate change, and almost as many say the problem is already affecting their community in some way, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. In addition, the nationwide survey of 10,957 adults conducted this spring finds that Americans overwhelmingly want the government to do more to reduce the greenhouse gases linked to a warming climate, with significant majorities backing policies that would plant huge numbers of trees, greater restrict power plant emissions, require more fuel-efficient cars and tax corporations based on their emissions...”

Amazon to Launch $2 Billion Venture Capital Fund to Invest in Clean Energy. The Wall Street Journal (paywall) has details: “Amazon. com Inc. is launching a $2 billion internal venture-capital fund focused on technology investments to reduce the impact of climate change, the latest sustainability initiative from the technology giant after criticism of its environmental record. The new fund, which will be called The Climate Pledge Fund, will invest in companies across a number of industries, including transportation, energy generation, battery storage, manufacturing and food and agriculture, according to the company. The aim is to help Amazon and other companies reach a goal of “net zero” carbon emissions by 2040. Amazon and a number of other companies are seeking to reduce the climate impact of their operations, both through reduced use of fossil fuels and investments in projects such as reforestation…”

Wisconsin Governor Asking Public for Policy Suggestions on Climate Change. has the story; here’s a clip: “…Barnes is encouraging all Wisconsin residents to participate, but especially those from low income and predominantly minority communities. “In Wisconsin and across the globe, communities of color and low-income communities often experience the worst consequences of climate change, and for far too long, they have been excluded from the policy-making process,” Barnes said in a statement provided to the State Journal. “These communities know best which policies will work for them, and that’s why we are centering their knowledge and experience as we craft our recommendations...”

File image: NASA Earth Observatory.

Rising Seas Threaten an American Institution: The 30-Year Mortgage. Here’s a clip from The New York Times (paywall): “…If climate change makes coastal homes uninsurable, Dr. Becketti wrote, their value could fall to nothing, and unlike the 2008 financial crisis, “homeowners will have no expectation that the values of their homes will ever recover.” In 30 years from now, if global-warming emissions follow their current trajectory, almost half a million existing homes will be on land that floods at least once a year, according to data from Climate Central, a research organization. Those homes are valued at $241 billion. Currently, new research shows banks rapidly shifting mortgages with flood risk off their books and over to organizations like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government-sponsored entities whose debts are backed by taxpayers…”

File image above: “Steve Helber/Associated Press.

Climate Change Exposes Future Generations to Life-Long Health Harm. Reuters reports: “A child born today faces multiple and life-long health harms from climate change – growing up in a warmer world with risks of food shortages, infectious diseases, floods and extreme heat, a major global study has found. Climate change is already harming people’s health by increasing the number of extreme weather events and exacerbating air pollution, according to the study published in The Lancet medical journal. And if nothing is done to mitigate it, its impacts could burden an entire generation with disease and illness throughout their lives. “Children are particularly vulnerable to the health risks of a changing climate...”

Oil and Gas Companies Might Never Recover from Covid-19. Quartz has the story: “…The impact on oil companies, from the biggest supermajors to independents like Cooper, was swift and devastating. In a matter of weeks, the world’s most valuable commodity had become practically impossible to sell. At least 500 drilling rigs in the US have been shut down, pushing the nation’s total to its lowest level on record. Most of the global majors posted Q1 earnings far below 2019 levels; some have plans to cut thousands of employees. Several smaller companies have already filed for bankruptcy; analysts project hundreds more could follow over the next year even if prices rebound somewhat. Texas shed a record 26,300 oil and gas jobs in April alone, and could lose up to 100,000—one-third of its workforce in the industry—by the end of the year…”