Will This Be The Wettest Year on Record at MSP?

My drip-dries are drooping. Moss is growing on my northern extremities. Not proud of that. I have a nice collection of rice paddies floating in my front yard. My sprinkler has rusted out from lack of use.

It really does feel like the jungles of Minnesota this year. It’s now the second wettest year in the metro, to date, since 1871. At the rate we’re going we stand a very good chance of breaking the all-time precipitation record of just over 40 inches, set in 2016. By the way, 3 of the 5 wettest years, to date, have occurred since 2002.

Before you let out a primal scream that wakes the neighbors, rest assured we’re about to enjoy an extended period of dry, sunny, increasingly warm weather. The weekend looks nice, with a shot at 80F by Sunday. European (ECMWF) model guidance is running warmer than NOAA’s simulations, hinting at mid to upper 80s by Tuesday and Wednesday.

Yes please.

Meanwhile there’s a good chance Hurricane Erin will form off the Carolina coast next week, possibly brushing New England.

Second Wettest Year, To Date. The information above is valid as of September 11, when the precipitation subtotal at MSP was 33.05″, second only to 1892. At the rate we’re going we may surpass 2016 (just over 40″ of precipitation in the metro area) for the wettest year on record.

Pulses of Cooler Air. Cool frontal passages will become more frequent by the last week of September which, frankly, shouldn’t come as much of a shock to any Minnesotan.

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Thursday, September 12th, 2019:

  • An area of disturbed weather sitting across the central and southern Bahamas this morning has a high probability of forming into a tropical depression or tropical storm over the next couple days, and advisories could start on the system later today.
  • The forecast track has this system moving to the northwest over the next couple days toward Florida, but then there are questions after that point as to where it will go. Some models have it crossing Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico, while others this morning show it skirting the Atlantic Southeast Coast as we head through the weekend into next week. Due to this uncertainty, facilities from the Carolinas to Louisiana should keep an eye on this system over the next few days.
  • We are also watching flooding across portions of the upper Midwest this morning, especially around Mitchell, SD. Flash Flood Watches remain in place across Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Satellite image courtesy of Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Area Of Concern In The Bahamas. This morning we are closely watching an area of disturbed weather that is becoming better organized across the central and southern Bahamas. As of the 7 AM EDT update from the National Hurricane Center, this area of interest has a high (70%) chance of forming into a tropical depression within the next two days and an 80% chance in the next five days. They also mention the potential that advisories on this system could start to be issued later today. This system will bring the potential of gusty winds and heavy rain to the Bahamas – including areas hard hit by Dorian – through Friday, and could bring those conditions across portions of Florida this weekend.

Questions To Overall Track. While many of the models yesterday had this area of interest crossing Florida this weekend and into the Gulf of Mexico, some uncertainty was added in the overnight runs as a number of models – including the European – have shifted much farther east and now have the system potentially skirting the Southeast Coast. This will have to be closely monitored over the next couple days; therefore, facilities from the Carolinas to Louisiana should keep an eye on this system over the next few days. This uncertainty in overall track also leads to questions as to the strength of the system.

Flooding in South Dakota This Morning. Major flooding is ongoing in portions of South Dakota this morning, particularly around Mitchell and Madison. Overnight a Flash Flood Emergency had been issued for Mitchell (which expired at 6:30 AM) due to reports of at least 4-7” of rain as well as cars submerged by over two feet of water. As of a tweet from the South Dakota Highway Patrol at 6:11 AM, I-90 was closed at Exit 330 (Mitchell) and 310 (20 miles west of Mitchell at US 281) with an established detour. Portions of SD 44 and SD 38 were also closed due to flooding. You can find more road information from the South Dakota DOT at https://www.safetravelusa.com/sd/. Over the past 48 hours, Madison has picked up 11.81” of rain, with 7.01” reported in Mitchell. Meanwhile, the City of Mount Vernon, SD, asked residents on Facebook at 2:34 AM to not use water if possible and not to pump water out of flooded basements into the sewer system.

Additional Heavy Rain And Flash Flood Watches. More heavy rain is expected to fall today into Friday across portions of the upper Midwest, with additional rainfall tallies of at least 1-3” expected in some locations. This rain, on top of heavy rain that has already fallen earlier this week, will continue to cause flooding issues today across the region. Due to that, Flash Flood Watches are in place from Minnesota to Wisconsin

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix

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.

Three EF-2 Tornadoes Hit Sioux Falls. WCCO-TV has details: “…The National Weather Service on Wednesday confirmed there were three separate EF-2 tornadoes, packing up to 130 mile per hour winds, touched down. Each of them tore narrow swaths of destruction through the southwestern side of town. The twisters left at least 37 buildings, including two hospitals, a major shopping mall and several apartment buildings, heavily damaged or destroyed. Homes in several neighborhoods were also damaged with roofs missing and trees torn from the ground. Making matters worse, there was failure in the city’s weather warning system…”

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.”

Extreme Weather Displaced a Record 7 Million in First Half of 2019. The New York Times reports: “Extreme weather events displaced a record seven million people from their homes during the first six months of this year, a figure that put 2019 on pace to be one of the most disastrous years in almost two decades even before Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, which compiles data from governments, United Nations humanitarian agencies and media reports, concluded in a report published Thursday that floods, landslides, cyclones and other extreme weather events temporarily displaced more people in the first half of this year than during the same period in any other year…”

Photo credit: “Credit: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters.

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.”

Tesla Battery Degredation Less Than 10% After 100,000 Miles. Electrek has the post; here’s the intro: “Battery degradation is one of the biggest concerns for electric car owners and potential buyers, but data from Tesla battery packs have been very reassuring so far. Now the latest data shows less than 10% degradation of the energy capacity after over 160,000 miles on Tesla’s battery packs. A group of Tesla owners on the Dutch-Belgium Tesla Forum are gathering data from over 350 Tesla vehicles across the world and frequently updating it in a public Google file. We have previously reported on the data, but they have since added many more vehicles and those vehicles have been driving a lot more – completing more battery cycles…”

More States Hitting Electric Vehicle Owners with Higher Fees. A 112% increase in Minnesota. Really? A story at Consumer Reports had me seeing red: “…A new Consumer Reports analysis shows that of the 26 states that currently impose EV fees, 11 charge more than the amount owners of similar gas-powered cars pay in gas taxes, and three charge more than twice the amount. And the trend is potentially for more EV fees: Among the 12 states considering proposals, 10 would have fees greater than what a driver on average would pay in gas taxes. Seven of those states would ratchet up the fees over time to twice the amount.  “People should be allowed to choose a vehicle that’s safe, reliable, and better for the environment without being punished,” says Shannon Baker-Branstetter, manager of cars and energy policy at Consumer Reports...”

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...”

1.17″ rain fell on the Twin Cities Thursday.

67 F. maximum temperature yesterday at MSP.

73 F. average high on September 12.

84 F. Twin Cities high on September 12, 2018.

September 13, 1994: Lightning strikes and injures a 35 year old man in Stearns County as he opens the door of his truck. Witnesses said he was thrown 10 feet when the lightning bolt struck him.

September 13, 1834: Smoke fills the sky at Ft. Snelling due to fires burning nearby.

FRIDAY: Breezy with considerable cloudiness, passing shower. Winds: W 10-15. High: 66

SATURDAY: Lukewarm sun, isolated T-shower? Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 55. High: 74

SUNDAY: Sunnier. Warmer. Drier. Winds: W 3-8. Wake-up: 61. High: near 80

MONDAY: Warm sunshine, a bit sticky. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 62. High: 82

TUESDAY: Hazy sun. Memories of July. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 65. High: 86

WEDNESDAY: More clouds, but still balmy. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 68. High: 85

THURSDAY: Passing shower or thundershower. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 69. High: near 80

Climate Stories….

Meet 15 Women Leading the Fight Against Climate Change. Here’s a snippet from TIME.com: “…From sinking islands to drought-ridden savannas, women bear an outsize burden of the global—warming crisis, largely because of gender inequalities. In many parts of the world, women hold traditional roles as the primary caregivers in families and communities, and, as the main providers of food and fuel, are more vulnerable when flooding and drought occur; the U.N. estimates 80% of those who have been displaced by climate change are women. Given their position on the front line of the climate-change battle, women are uniquely situated to be agents of change—to help find ways to mitigate the causes of global warming and to adapt to its impacts on the ground. This reality was recognized by the Paris Agreement, which specifically included the global need to further empower women in climate decision-making…”

Climate Change is Now a Bedtime Story. A post at theoutline.com caught my eye: “…Children’s literature is trying to pick up some of the slack. There’s proof that engaging in conversations across generations can be an effective first step into the movement against the climate crisis. One 2019 study found that young people can increase their parents’ level of worry about climate change, and teaching 10-to-14 year olds about the crisis oftentimes led to a direct change in the parents’ views on the subject. What better way to start that conversation than a bed-time story? Modern authors have a challenge on their hands: find new ways to teach young children about a multifaceted, often depressing environmental issue while remaining realistic and optimistic, and attempting to offer feasible solutions suitable for children...”

Hurricane Dorian Was a Climate Injustice. Did warmer oceans increase the probability of Dorian strengthening into a Category 5 monster? Probably, yes. Here’s an excerpt from The New Yorker: “…These storms are, for sure, different. And deadly. Dorian became its terrible self after it climbed to Category 5 status on September 1st, the very same day that it made landfall in the Abacos. By the time it was clear that Dorian, with sustained winds of a hundred and eighty-five miles per hour, would be the strongest hurricane ever to hit the Bahamas, it was too late for most people in Grand Bahama and the Abacos to react or flee. Climate scientists have warned us of such disasters. As carbon emissions continue to enter the atmosphere and the greenhouse effect persists, global temperatures will continue to rise. The air and water around the tropical Atlantic will get warmer and warmer, and, likely, as a result, hurricanes will develop and grow stronger more quickly and carry more rain as they move...”

Hurricane Dorian image: NASA’s International Space Station.

Amazon Employees Walk Out Over Climate Change. A story at CNBC.com caught my eye: “…Last year, I was feeling hopeless, unmotivated and frankly ashamed of the role I was playing at Amazon Air enabling carbon emissions,” Sheppard said. “I have a beautiful three-year-old nephew, and I was afraid of what his world was going to look like in 50 years, given how much worse it had gotten in my 28 years.” So Sheppard joined a group of Amazon workers internally lobbying for their employer to take action to reduce its negative impact on the environment and climate change. The group became known as the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) and is participating in the Global Climate Strike — a series of walkouts to bring attention to climate change organized by and for young people — on Sept. 20…”

“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...”