A Few Rounds of Holiday Weekend Thunder

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a ceraunophile. Before you call the authorities, a ceraunophile is someone who loves thunderstorms. What a geek, I know.

For the record I can live without the crazy supercell thunderstorms that spark large hail and tornadoes. I don’t need that much excitement in my life. But the rumble of thunder and a free lightning show is a reminder that I don’t (really) have any control. An insight both humbling and liberating.

Like every other Minnesotan I crave warm, sunny days, and I’m still cautiously optimistic about the holiday weekend weather. Steady rain is likely today with over half an inch of rain on some lawns and fields. A stunningly sunny and mild Friday gives way to roving bands of T-storms this weekend. The best chance of being chased indoors: Friday night and Saturday morning, during the day Sunday, and late Monday, as a boisterous warm frontal boundary stalls nearby.

The mercury may hit 90F Tuesday with a streak of 80s the first week of June.

Hurry up summer!

Wednesday Future Clouds/Radar

A Plan B Wednesday. Rain will fall much of the day today, but I suspect the band of heaviest (1”+) rains will be south and east of the Twin Cities. That said, some .5 to 1” amounts are possible before rain tapers off tonight.

Well-Timed Warming Trend. With thick clouds and rain today will be the coolest day in sight with temperatures stuck in the 50s. By the weekend it should be 20 degrees milder, and with this next surge of warmth and humidity comes a few rounds of showers and T-storms. No all-day rain that I can see, but have a Plan B (indoors) for each day, especially Sunday.

ECMWF Temperatures for MSP
GFS Temperatures for MSP

Simmering Warmth. No crazy heat waves brewing for the Upper Midwest just yet, but temperatures should be close to normal in early July with 70s and a few 80s the norm.

Texas Storm Chasers

Mega-Tornado in Morton, Texas. Texas Storm Chasers has YouTube video here. Fox News reports: “A super tornado has touched down in North Texas and is crawling across the state as weather officials are urging residents to exercise caution by remaining in their homes and adhering to other tornado protocols. “TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building,” a warning from the National Weather Service, after photos and videos of a gigantic tornado near Morton circulated online...”

Colorado, Nebraska Jostle Over Water Rights Amid Drought. The Great Water Wars are now well underway, according to AP News: “…As climate change-fueled megadrought edges eastward, Nebraska’s Republican-controlled Legislature this year voted to move forward with a plan that stunned Colorado state leaders. The Cornhusker State wants to divert water in Colorado by invoking an obscure, 99-year-old compact between the states that allows Nebraska to seize Colorado land along the South Platte River to build a canal. Nebraska’s plan underscores an increasing appetite throughout the West to preemptively secure water as winter snows and year-round rainfall diminish, forcing states to reallocate increasingly scarce flows in basins such as the South Platte and its better-known cousin, the Colorado River...”

This Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, satellite image released by NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) shows Hurricane Delta. (NASA via AP)

NOAA Releases Above-Average Hurricane Season Forecast for 2022. The National Desk reports: “NOAA’s forecast calls for another above-average Atlantic hurricane season in 2022. NOAA is forecasting 14-21 named storms, 6-10 hurricanes with 3-6 of those hurricanes becoming a major storm (Category 3, 4 or 5). A major hurricane, defined by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, is a storm that produces sustained winds of 115 mph or higher. WPEC reports Colorado State University had already issued its forecast and is calling for an above-average season with 19 named storms, nine hurricanes and four major hurricanes. On average, the United States typically sees 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes. El Niño, La Niña, Saharan dust, wind shear and water temperature are just a few of several factors that contribute to an active or inactive Atlantic hurricane season…”


Study: Reducing Human-Caused Air Pollution in North America and Europe Brings Surprising Result: More Hurricanes. A story at NOAA Research connects the dots: “A new NOAA study published today in the journal Science Advances about four decades of tropical cyclones reveals the surprising result that reducing particulate air pollution in Europe and North America has contributed to an increase in the number of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic basin and a decrease in the number of these storms in the Southern Hemisphere. The study also found that the growth of particulate pollution in Asia has contributed to fewer tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific basin. “Air pollution is a big environmental risk to human health and we have made great strides in reducing health risks by reducing particulate air pollution,” said Hiroyuki Murakami, a physical scientist at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and study author. “But reducing air pollution does not always decrease the risk of hazards from tropical cyclones…”

FIU ‘s Erik Salna and team demonstrated what hurricane force winds can do to both a fortified and unfortified house at the Engineering Center’s Wall of Wind in Miami.
Courtesy of Florida International University

Florida Hurricane Facility Replicates Storm Conditions to Improve Products, Building Codes. ClickOrlando.com has the story; here’s a clip: “…Located on the Florida International University campus in Miami, the Wall of Wind facility is a state-of-the-art research center that is key to advancing our ability to be better prepared when the next storm hits. Taking us on our tour is Erik Salna, the associate director with the FIU Extreme Events Institute. “The research we are doing here is now figuring out how the built environment can be more resilient. So, there is less damage with the next storm.” Salna explained. And that resiliency can be easily seen in construction and Florida building codes after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. According to the National Hurricane Center, the Category 5 hurricane caused $26 billion in damage, destroying about 50,000 homes. “It was absolutely devastating. But what it did, it woke up Florida. And now Florida is the leader when it comes to building codes, emergency management, preparedness, and hurricane research…”

File image
Citizen’s Committee for Flood Relief

Flooding Insurance Bill Seeks to Curb Rising Tide of Bankruptcies. The Hill has the story: “Americans with homes that are repeatedly flooded by extreme weather events could soon have the federal government buy their houses under a new bill introduced Thursday by Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.). The bill would allow the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the federal flood insurer of last resort, to buy houses and zones deemed indefensible in lieu of continually paying to repair them. “You’re not obligating people to move, but you’re saying like, you know … if you want to avail yourself with the NFIP program, we’re going to structure it toward a buyout rather than rebuilding,” Casten said…”

69 F. Twin Cities high temperature on Tuesday.

72 F. Average MSP high on May 24.

87 F. MSP high on May 24, 2021.

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

WEDNESDAY: Cool with steady rain. Winds: NE 10-20. High: 52

THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy and dry. Winds: N 10-20. Wake-up: 47. High: 61

FRIDAY: Bright sunshine. Close to perfect. Winds: NW 3-8. Wake-up: 50. High: 75

SATURDAY: Morning thunder, PM sunshine. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 57. High: 79

SUNDAY: Humid with showers, T-storms likely. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 64. High: near 80

MEMORIAL DAY: Partly sunny, PM T-storms. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 62. High: 78

TUESDAY: Hot sunshine, late T-storms. Winds: S 15-25. Wake-up: 65. High: 87

Climate Stories…

Source: First Street Foundation, U.S. Census The map reflects Census ZIP code designations. Areas shown with no data don’t have a ZIP code, indicating they have few or no residents, or, in some cases, represent areas where digitized parcel-level data was not available. Alaska and Hawaii were not part of the First Street analysis.

Here are the Wildfire Risks to Homes Across the Lower 48 States. Details via The New York Times (paywall): “The nation’s wildfire risk is widespread, severe and accelerating quickly, according to new data that, for the first time, calculates the risk facing every property in the contiguous United States. The data, released Monday by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research group in New York, comes as rising housing prices in cities and suburbs push Americans deeper into fire-prone areas, with little idea about the specific risk in their new locale. That’s because the federal government maps flood risk at the property level but doesn’t do the same for wildfires, which are growing more frequent and severe because of climate change...”

NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index. Here’s an excerpt from NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory: “Increases in the abundance of atmospheric greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution are mainly the result of human activity and are largely responsible for the observed increases in global temperature [IPCC 2014]. Because climate projections have large model uncertainties that overwhelm the uncertainties in greenhouse gas measurements, we present here an observationally-based index that is proportional to the change in the direct warming influence since the onset of the industrial revolution (also known as climate forcing) supplied from these gases. This index is based on the observed amounts of long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and contains little uncertainty...”


The Annihilation of Florida: An Overlooked National Tragedy. Is it really that bad in the Sunshine State. Check out a post at Current Affairs; here’s an excerpt: “…Consider this: several football fields-worth of forest and other valuable habitat is cleared per day2 in Florida, with 26 percent of our canopy cut down in the past twenty years. According to one study, an average of 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation worldwide. The ecocide happening here is comparable for our size to the destruction of the Amazon, but much less remarked upon. Few of the perpetrators understand how they hurt the quality of life for people living in Florida and hamstring any possibility of climate crisis resiliency. Prodevelopment flacks like to pull out the estimates of the millions who will continue to flock to Florida by 2030 or 2040 to justify rampant development…”

South Asia’s Intense Heat Wave a “Sign of Things to Come”. AP News has perspective; here’s an excerpt: “…The devastating heat wave that has baked India and Pakistan in recent months was made more likely by climate change and is a glimpse of the region’s future, international scientists said in a study released Monday. The World Weather Attribution group analyzed historical weather data that suggested early, long heat waves that impact a massive geographical area are rare, once-a-century events. But the current level of global warming, caused by human-caused climate change, has made those heat waves 30 times more likely. If global heating increases to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) more than pre-industrial levels, then heat waves like this could occur twice in a century and up to once every five years, said Arpita Mondal, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, who was part of the study. “This is a sign of things to come,” Mondal said…”

South Asia Heatwave 30x More Likely Because Of Climate Change: Climate Nexus has headlines and links: “Climate change made India and Pakistan’s punishing March and April heatwave at least 30 times more likely, a study from World Weather Attribution finds. “This is a sign of things to come,” Arpita Mondal, a climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, who was part of the study, told the AP. The heatwave shattered monthly and all-time temperature records across Pakistan and northwestern and central India, impacting nearly 70% of India and 30% of Pakistan — approximately 1 billion people in total, about one-eighth of the global population. The heatwave slashed crop yields in vital Indian agricultural regions, fueled hundreds of forest fires, and snowmelt in Pakistan caused a glacial lake to flood. It also illustrates the risk climate change poses to the region’s economy and threatens to hurt India’s credit score. The heat was especially brutal for those who lack access to cooling and/or work outside, like 42-year-old father of two Rahman Ali, who earns less than $3 per day sorting people’s trash to salvage what can be sold. “What can we do?” he said to the AP. “If I don’t work…we won’t eat.” The study is consistent with a UK Met Office study, released last week, which found a record-breaking heatwave like the heatwave in South Asia this year is 100 times more likely because of climate change.” (Attribution: AP, Washington Post $, Reuters, The Guardian, Axios; Cooling access: Thomson Reuters Foundation; Credit risk: Bloomberg $; Possible U.S. aid: Reuters; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves)

Climate change-exacerbated rainfall causing devastating flooding in Eastern South Africa.

Climate Change-Exacerbated Rainfall Causing Devastating Flooding in Eastern South Africa. Here’s an excerpt of a preliminary report on how a warmer, wetter climate may have contributed to extreme flooding from World Weather Attribution: “…While the full profile of the impacts on human life and livelihoods has yet to be analysed, initial assessments show that the floods disproportionately affected marginalised communities, with particular devastation in informal settlements. ​Thus, the magnitude of this disaster on these groups has been exacerbated by pre-existing structural vulnerability in the region.​​ The magnitude of the event is given by maximum 2-day rainfall, averaged over the homogenous area to make observations and model output comparable. The defined event has a return time of about 20 years in today’s climate in the ERA5 observational data set. An event of this magnitude would have been rarer in a 1.2C cooler world, with a return time of about 40 years…”