Heavy Thunderstorms – Slight Flash Flood Risk

It may be politically expedient to complain about heat and humidity, but count me out of that rant-fest. We spend – what – half the year shivering, so I’m not about to complain about a few hot fronts in mid-July… in Minnesota.

Says a guy who can retreat into air conditioned comfort when the going gets really sticky.

I suspect this will be the hottest week of summer, with at least 3 more days of 90-degree fun (Thursday into Saturday) and a heat index that may leave you reaching for moist towelettes.

“Paul, you have Doppler radar. Why can’t you tell me, days in advance, when it’s going to rain on me?” Fair question. Thunderstorms are usually 5-10 miles in diameter – all we can do is tell when conditions are ripe for storms.

Models print out 1-2 inches of rain for the metro by Thursday morning, as a frontal boundary stalls nearby, acting as a meteorological magnet for stormy redevelopment. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some localized flash flooding.

A push of cooler, comfortable air returns early next week.

Total Rainfall by Sunday Evening. ECMWF prints out a couple more inches of rain, most of that falling today and Wednesday. With such high dew points and precipitable water values, the threat of flash flooding will linger. Map: WeatherBell.

Baxter Sees Flash Flooding from Sunday Storms. KSTP.com has details: “Following a deluge that took place in a short timeframe, Baxter experienced flooded roadways Sunday. In a Facebook post, Baxter Police Department stated that Washington Street from North 4th Street to Northwest 4th Street in Brainerd is closed. The Police department also urged travelers to avoid the large puddles in the roadways, use caution when traveling and plan alternative routes when possible…”

Photo credit: Baxter Police Department.

Midwest and USA Precipitation and Departures Since January 1 are courtesy of Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Comfortable End to July. You have to admit that GFS guidance is consistent, showing the heat pump high pattern buckling just enough for slightly cooler, Canadian air to push into the Upper Mississippi River Valley and Great Lakes the last few days of July – while the rest of America sizzles.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Monday, July 15th, 2019:

  • Tropical Depression Barry is continuing to slowly move north through Arkansas this morning. As of the 4 AM CDT update from the Weather Prediction Center, Barry had sustained winds of 25 mph and was moving to the north at 9 mph.
  • Barry will continue to bring the potential of heavy rain and flooding from the Gulf Coast to the mid-Mississippi Valley today, with the heaviest rain falling this morning across portions of central Louisiana into southwest Mississippi where an additional 4-6”+ could fall. Last night there was a Flash Flood Emergency for Northeast Calcasieu Parish and Southeast Beauregard Parish in Louisiana due to 8-12” of rain that had led to numerous flooded roads and water rescues.
  • A few tornadoes will also be possible across portions of the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys.

Barry As Of Monday Morning. As of the 4 AM CDT update from the Weather Prediction Center, Barry was slowly moving through Arkansas with sustained winds of 25 mph. The center of the system was located about 80 miles west-southwest of Little Rock and was moving to the north at 9 mph. It will continue to move northward today before taking a turn to the northeast Tuesday. The system is expected to become post-tropical later today and dissipate during the mid-week time frame.

Main Threat Continues To Be Heavy Rain. We will continue to watch the potential for heavy rain over the next couple days in the central United States in association with Barry. The heaviest will be across portions of central Louisiana to far southwest Mississippi, where a band of heavy rain this morning could lead to rainfall amounts of 4-6” (isolated 10”). Elsewhere across the lower/middle Mississippi Valleys and into portions of the Ohio River Valley, an additional 2-4” (isolated 8”) will be possible.

Flash Flooding Possible. The greatest flooding potential today will be during the morning hours across portions of Louisiana, where that heavy band of rain has set up and barely moved. This is where there is a Moderate Risk of flash flooding today, with a Marginal and Slight Risk area stretching from the Gulf Coast to the middle Mississippi Valley.

Flash Flood Watch. Due to the continuing heavy rain and flood threat, Flash Flood Watches are still in place across portions of the lower and middle Mississippi Valleys.

Tornado Potential. The threat of some isolated tornadoes will also exist today across portions of the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys. Due to this threat, a Marginal Risk of severe weather is in place.

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix.

2019 Hurricane Files: Steps To Take Before a Hurricane Arrives. I wrote a post for Medium and AerisWeather that includes updated statistics on hurricane fatalities – in recent years inland flooding has been (by far) the biggest killer: “…My plan…is to create a plan.” Hurricane season is here. Do you live in Hurricane Alley? Coastal residents bear the brunt of hurricane winds and storm surge (sudden rise in water levels ahead of the eye), but severe flooding can impact homeowners hundreds of miles inland. In fact, in recent years inland flooding has surpassed storm surge as the biggest water-related killer. From 2016 to 2018 83% of fatalities were water-related, but only 4% of these were due to storm surge. Since 2018 the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami estimates that half of all hurricane victims died in the vehicles. Only 6” of rapidly moving water can knock you off your feet; 2 feet of water can turn a car or truck into a boat, with tragic consequences...”

“A Floodier Future”: Scientists Say Records Will Be Broken. The Associated Press reports: ” The federal government is warning Americans to brace for a “floodier” future. Government scientists predict 40 places in the U.S. will experience higher than normal rates of so-called sunny day flooding this year because of rising sea levels and an abnormal El Nino weather system. A report released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that sunny day flooding, also known as tidal flooding, will continue to increase. “The future is already here, a floodier future,” said William Sweet, a NOAA oceanographer and lead author of the study…”

Photo credit: “In this Oct. 5, 2017, file photo, residents move a “no wake,” sign through flood waters caused by king tides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Federal scientists, according to a report released Wednesday, July 10, 2019, predict 40 places in the U.S. will experience higher than normal rates of so-called sunny day flooding this year due to rising sea levels and an abnormal El Nino weather system.” (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP.

Billions of Air Pollution Particles Found in Hearts of City Dwellers. A post at The Guardian made me do a double-take: “The hearts of young city dwellers contain billions of toxic air pollution particles, research has revealed. Even in the study’s youngest subject, who was three, damage could be seen in the cells of the organ’s critical pumping muscles that contained the tiny particles. The study suggests these iron-rich particles, produced by vehicles and industry, could be the underlying cause of the long-established statistical link between dirty air and heart disease. The scientists said the abundance of the nanoparticles might represent a serious public health concern and that particle air pollution must be reduced urgently. More than 90% of the world’s population lives with toxic air, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the issue a global “public health emergency”...”

The Battle Between Streaming Platforms is Getting Nasty, Here’s How Much It’ll Cost You. The nextweb.com has the story: “If you haven’t heard, Netflix is leaking content: Friends is leaving Netflix for HBO Max, The Office is leaving Netflix for NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service, and all Marvel and Star Wars content is leaving Netflix for Disney+. And this is just the tip of the iceberg…The streaming wars are about to get even more heated, with Disney, AT&T, Comcast, and Apple all set to launch their own direct-to-consumer video-on-demand services. Soon you’ll have to pick and choose between Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu (possibly bundled under Disney+), Apple TV Plus, Amazon’s Prime Video, and possibly a streaming service from the possible Viacom/CBS merger...”

Polish Up Those Tin-Foil Hats. CNN has the story: “Over 300,000 people have signed on to a Facebook event pledging to raid Area 51 in Nevada in a quest to “see them aliens.”  The event, titled “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” is inviting users from around the world to join a “Naruto run” — a Japanese manga-inspired running style featuring arms outstretched backwards and heads forward — into the area. “We can move faster than their bullets,” the event page, which is clearly written with tongue in cheek, promises those who RSVP for September 20….”

1.02″ rain fell at MSP as of 7 pm Monday.

92 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

84 F. average high on July 15.

89 F. high on July 15, 2018.

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.

TUESDAY: Muggy with T-storms, some heavy. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 86

WEDNESDAY: T-storms linger, locally heavy rain. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 73. High: 87

THURSDAY: Sunnier and hotter again. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 73. High: 91

FRIDAY: Steamy sun, isolated T-storm. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 73. High: bnear 90

SATURDAY: Free sauna lingers. T-storms up north. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 74. High: 92

SUNDAY: Cooler, more numerous T-storms. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 73. High: 85

MONDAY: Sunnier, less humid. Breathing easier. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 68. High: 86

Climate Stories…

Athlete vs. Heat. Spiking temperatures and humidity levels (and subsequent heat indices) are already having an impact on summer sports; here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post: “…The people from this area are plenty acquainted with hot summer days. Climatologists say the earth’s hottest places are getting hotter faster than everywhere else. There was a report this year that found Las Vegas is the fastest-warming city in the country and has seen an average temperature increase of nearly 6 degrees since 1970. The whole planet is getting warmer, in fact. Across the globe, the past four years are the warmest on record. Last year the average temperature across Earth’s land and ocean surfaces was 1.42 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and climate watchers say it’s trending in one direction. Climate projections suggest the planet could warm by 3 or 4 degrees by the end of this century, which would have major ramifications for outdoor sports everywhere, from recreational weekend joggers to elite athletes competing on the biggest stages…”

Prepare for More Downpours: Heavy Rain Has Increased Across Most of the USA, and Is Likely to Increase Further. NOAA’s Climate.gov has details: “Warming conditions mean more evaporation, which leads to more water vapor in the air. When rain-triggering conditions are favorable, more saturated air leads to heavier precipitation. This has been the story across most of the United States in the past century. Extreme precipitation events have grown more frequent since the start of the twentieth century, and such events are likely to become even more frequent over the twenty-first. Adapted from Figure 2.6 in the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), these maps show observed (top row) and predicted (bottom row) changes in heavy precipitation events—those bouts of heavy rain or snow ranking among the top 1 percent (99th percentile) of daily events. All four maps use the same color scale. Percentage changes below 0 (decreases) are pale yellow, and increases appear in shades of pale green (smallest) to navy blue (greatest)…”

Image credit: NOAA Climate.gov. Fourth National Climate Assessment.

Has Your Doctor Talked To You About Climate Change? Here’s a clip from NPR: “...In June, the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Heart Association were among 70 medical and public health groups that issued a call to action asking the U.S. government, business and leaders to recognize climate change as a health emergency. “The health, safety and wellbeing of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed by human-caused climate change, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action to fight climate change,” the coalition statement said. The World Health Organization calls climate change “the greatest health challenge of the 21st century,” and a dozen U.S. medical societies urge action to limit global warming…”

Donald Trump Should Admit Climate Change is Real, Lindsey Graham Says. USA TODAY has details: “President Donald Trump should “admit that climate change is real” and start figuring out ways to confront it. That wasn’t advice from prominent congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez but rather from one of the president’s staunchest allies in Congress: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “I’m tired of playing defense on the environment,” Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday as he and other GOP lawmakers announced the formation of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, which will “embrace and promote constructive efforts to resolve conservation and environmental problems…”

File image: Wikipedia.

Caring For God’s Creation By Being Better Consumers. Beth Bond at Evangelical Environmental Network has details: “We’ve compiled a list to make your shopping better for the planet. One of the best things we can do for creation is making wiser decisions. If everyone would make these simple changes then all of us would be making less of an impact on our beautiful gift of God’s tiny blue creation.

Here’s our top 10 list for positive products!

  1. Replace the light bulbs as they burn out and switch to LEDs. The cost of LEDs has dropped dramatically. Most LED’s last over 10 years now and reduce heat output and energy consumption significantly.
  2. Do you know most appliances draw energy by simply being plugged in? The solution is so simple- unplug them! Seems like too much trouble? Don’t worry- plug them all into an electric strip and just flip the switch when you leave the room.
  3. Skip the brown paper lunch bag. Get a reusable lunch box. If you want to be fancy, get a bento box.
  4. Dump disposable plastic baggies. Get reusable food bags
  5. How many plastic straws do Americans use every day? 500,000 million disposable plastic straws each and every day. So, skip the straw or if you need one get a washable stainless steel.
  6. Reduce your waste while shopping. Carry your own shopping bags.
  7. Toilet paper should be made from recycled content. You can now buy toilet paper made out of bamboo.
  8. Reduce the number of paper towels you use with the Skoy Eco-friendly Cleaning Cloth. Each pack of 4  is made from recycled paper waste and one Skoy replaces 10 rolls of paper towels
  9. Why not get recycled aluminum foil? Aluminum is unlimited in its recyclability. So, buy recycled foil.
  10. Have you made the switch to carrying reusable cloth bags for shopping? What are you waiting for...”

Climate Change Fills Hurricanes With More Rain. Warmer air + warmer water = more water vapor, more fuel for storms, including hurricanes. Here’s an excerpt from The New York Times: “…In recent years, researchers have found that hurricanes have lingered longer, as Barry is expected to do, and dumped more rainfall — a sign of climate change, said Christina Patricola, a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a co-author of a study that found that climate change is making tropical cyclones wetter. (Tropical cyclones include both hurricanes and tropical storms, which are hurricanes’ less speedier kin.) Researchers have been studying the effects of climate change on tropical cyclones because those sorts of storms are driven by warm water. Water in the gulf is 0.5 to 2 degrees Celsius warmer, according to Dr. Prein, who said: “This is really increasing the likelihood of a hurricane to form in this basin. And it will increase the intensity of the hurricane as well...”

Flood Risks From All Sides: Barry’s Triple-Whammy in Louisiana. InsideClimate News explains the unfortunate convergence of meteorological impacts that are swamping New Orleans and much of Louisiana: “…Climate scientists warn that as global warming trends persist, rising sea levels, coupled with more intense storms and heavy rainfall, will pummel coastal cities like New Orleans, making storm surge and rainfall flooding more frequent and recovery efforts more costly. “Water is the biggest risk,” said Kevin Trenberth, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, noting that floods not only pose immediate danger, but also broader health risks by potentially spreading toxins and disease. The last time Louisiana faced significantly high river levels along with a tropical storm was 2009 during Hurricane Ida, said Jeff Graschel with the The National Weather Service’s Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center…”

Alaska Chokes on Wildfires as Heat Waves Dry Out the Arctic. Perspective on the trends from InsideClimate News: “…Global warming has been thawing tundra and drying vast stretches of the far-northern boreal forests, and it also has spurred more thunderstorms with lightning, which triggered many of the fires burning in Alaska this year, said Brian Brettschneider, a climate scientist with the International Arctic Research Center who closely tracks Alaskan and Arctic extreme weather. So far this year, wildfires have scorched more than 1.2 million acres in Alaska, making it one of the state’s three biggest fire years on record to this date, with high fire danger expected to persist in the weeks ahead. Several studies, as well as ongoing satellite monitoring, show that fires are spreading farther north into the Arctic, burning more intensely and starting earlier in the year, in line with what climate models have long suggested would happen as sea ice dwindles and ocean and air temperatures rise…”

Photo credit: “Alaska Army National Guard helicopter crews fought a wildfire on July 4, 2019. This state is suffering through heat waves that have melted sea ice weeks early and dried vegetation, fueling one of Alaska’s biggest fire years on record to this date.” Credit: Spc. Michael Risinger/U.S. Army National Guard.

By 2050 Many U.S. Cities Will Have Weather Like They’ve Never Seen, New Study Says. National Geographic has the story; here’s an excerpt: “…To illustrate their findings the Crowther Lab in Switzerland created a global data map that pairs one city’s future climate conditions with current ones. For example Minneapolis in 2050 will be more like Kansas City, with Minneapolis’s warmest month shooting up from around 80 degrees Fahrenheit on average to more than 90F in 2050. Generally speaking, cities in the Northern Hemisphere will have the climates cities more than 620 miles to their south have today, he said….Changes in tropical cities will be less in terms of temperature increases, but will be dominated by more frequent extreme precipitation events and the severity and intensity of droughts. “The fate of major tropical cities remains uncertain as many will experience unprecedented climate conditions,” the study concludes...”