Our Persistent Wet Bias Continues

Nearly 5 inches of rain soaked the Twin Cities in the first half of July, making it the 7th wettest start to any July on record. (Note: these statistics were before Tuesday evening’s torrential thunderstorms). We’re up to 23.31 inches of precipitation since January 1, meaning the 4th wettest start to any year since records were started in 1871. By the way, 7 of the 10 wettest starts to any calendar year at MSP have occurred since 1990.

We keep the soggy streak going today; the best chance of a swarm of heavy T-storms comes this evening
and tonight, with some 1-2 rainfall amounts. Stating the obvious: the ground is saturated, waterlogged. Any additional rain will almost immediately run off into streets and streams. Some flash flooding can’t be ruled out tonight.

Minnesota is on the northern edge of an expansive heat wave gripping America. 90-degree heat is likely Thursday and Friday before a wind shift pushes slightly cooler air into town next weekend. A comfortable start to next week gives way to another hot surge later in the week. Not broiling – just hot enough to get your attention.

Doppler Radar Rainfall Estimates. These are estimated amounts from Tuesday evening’s crazy cloudburst; the heaviest (2-3″) rains within a few miles of I-94. Part of me wonders if the urban heat island in the downtown core was enough to help initiate convection?

Another round of heavy rain and severe storms arrives later today….

Praedictix Briefing: Issued Tuesday, July 16th, 2019:

  • Heavy rain has been occurring overnight across portions of southwestern Arkansas on the southern side of Post-Tropical Cyclone Barry, with some areas already seeing 4-10″ of rain.
  • With additional showers and storms redeveloping across this same area through the morning hours, a significant and potentially high-end flash flood risk is developing across the region.
  • Due to the heavy rain that has already fallen, along with additional heavy rain falling this morning, Flash Flood Emergencies have been issued for southern Pike, southern Clark, Northeastern Hempstead, Northeastern Sevier, Southern Howard, and Southern Howard Counties in Arkansas until 10:45 AM.
  • Dangerous heat and humidity will ramp up over the next several days in portions of the Midwest and Northeast. Excessive Heat Watches are already in place for areas like Omaha, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Philadelphia from Wednesday through Friday or Saturday. Highs are expected to be in the 90s, but it will feel more like the 100s when the humidity is factored in. Warm lows won’t provide much relief at night.

Radar (Tuesday) Morning. Very heavy rain has been falling across portions of southern Arkansas over the past several hours, with storms reforming and moving over the same areas. This has led to numerous reports of flooding, including along US 278 in Howard County, AR (near Dierks), along US 371 from Prescott to Nashville, and in Arkadelphia there was four feet of water reported at Walnut Street and US 67. Two Flash Flood Emergencies have been issued until 10:45 AM, one for southern Pike and southern Clark Counties, and the other for Northeastern Hempstead, Northeastern Sevier, Southern Howard, and Southern Howard Counties. The text of the two Flash Flood Emergencies is below:

Rainfall Amounts So Far. Radar has estimated over 10” of rain in portions of Howard County, AR, so far this morning, with 9.23” at Dierks Dam as of 7:33 AM. From midnight to 7 AM, Arkadelphia reported 5.85” of rain. This heavy rain in such a short amount of time has led to the flooding across the region this morning.

Additional Rain Expected. With additional heavy rain expected across southwestern Arkansas potentially exceeding 4” through mainly the morning hours today, overall rain totals of 5-10”+ will be possible. This will continue to bring the potential of a significant and life-threatening flash flood event.

High Flood Risk. Due to the very heavy rain in a short amount of time across southern Arkansas, a High Risk of flash flooding has been issued, with a larger Moderate Risk area extending eastward into northern Mississippi and southwest Tennessee. Once again, rainfall amounts exceeding 10” will be possible in the High Risk area, with 2-4” possible throughout the day in the Moderate Risk area. The eastern part of that Moderate Risk area will also have to be monitored for the potential of storms tonight redeveloping over the same area. While it doesn’t look as extreme as what is going on across southern Arkansas, this area could potentially see 4-6” of rain.

Excessive Heat Watches. A major and potentially dangerous summer heatwave is getting ready to take shape from mid-week into the weekend across portions of the Midwest and Northeast. Already Excessive Heat Watches have been put in place due to the potential of high afternoon heat index values and overnight lows that won’t provide much relief from the heat if not in an air-conditioned location. Across this entire area, these watches start Wednesday and last through either Friday or Saturday.

Upper Midwest Highs And Lows. Highs from Wednesday into the weekend will reach into the mid and upper 90s across the Central Plains and Upper Midwest, with not much relief at night as lows only dip into the 70s.  In Des Moines, the hottest day of the stretch is expected to be Friday, with St. Louis seeing a high of 97F both Thursday and Friday.

Upper Midwest Heat Index Values. Once you factor in the humidity (with dew points in the 70s) it is expected that it’ll feel more like the 100s during the peak heating of the afternoon. These values could approach 110F in some locations, including Thursday in St. Louis.

Northeast Highs And Lows. While we will see some heat in Philadelphia Wednesday, the main surge of heat will move into portions of the Northeast Friday and Saturday. Highs could be in the 90s as far north as Portland on Saturday. Saturday morning could even start off in the 80s in places like New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. providing no break in the heat through the overnight hours.

Northeast Heat Index Values. Peak heat index values in Philadelphia are expected to top 100F each afternoon from Wednesday through next Monday, but the heat and humidity won’t settle into areas like New York City and Boston until Friday and Saturday. In New York City, heat index values will be near 100F both days, with heat indices in the mid to upper 90s in Boston Saturday.

Heat Safety Tips. Here are some heat safety tips from NOAA for the next several days. This heat is not to be taken lightly through the rest of the week and the weekend across the central and Northeastern United States. While we typically see hot weather during the summer, it’ll be the stretch of consecutive hot days that will be problematic. You can find more heat safety tips here: https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat

D.J. Kayser, Meteorologist, Praedictix.

GFS Numbers. High/low temperature predictions for MSP courtesy of NOAA and WeatherBell.

America the Char-Broiled. The heat wave over the southern Plains and southwestern USA intensifies in the coming weeks, Minnesota and Wisconsin still on the northern fringe of any swampy air. We’ll see our fair share of 80s, and probably a few more days above 90F as we sail into August.

NASA Releases Stunning Image of ISS Crossing In Front of the Sun. Big Think has the image and a great explainer: “NASA published a stunning photo showing the International Space Station cross in front of the sun. Regarding the picture, which was captured by Rainee Colacurcio, NASA officials wrote:“Transiting the sun is not very unusual for the ISS, which orbits the Earth about every 90 minutes, but getting one’s timing and equipment just right for a great image is rare. Strangely, besides that fake spot, in this recent two-image composite, the sun lacked any real sunspots. The featured picture combines two images — one capturing the space station transiting the sun — and another taken consecutively capturing details of the sun’s surface…”

Photo credit: NASA.

Going Back to the Moon – To Get to Mars? Check out a post from NASA: “…In the half-century since people visited the Moon, NASA has continued to push the boundaries of knowledge to deliver on the promise of American ingenuity and leadership in space. And NASA will continue that work by moving forward to the Moon with astronauts landing on the lunar South Pole by 2024. NASA is implementing the President’s Space Policy Directive-1 to “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system.” The Moon will provide a proving ground to test technologies and resources that will take humans to Mars and beyond, including building a sustainable, reusable architecture...”

Image credit: “NASA has been discussing concepts for human lunar exploration since the Apollo flights ended. In this 1995 artist’s concept, a lunar mining operation harvests oxygen from the lunar soil in Mare Serenatatis, a few kilometers from the Apollo 17 landing site.” Image Credit: SAIC/Pat Rawlings

Did the Pentagon Weaponize Ticks? Roll Call has a head-scratching article; here are a couple of excerpts: “The House quietly voted last week to require the Pentagon inspector general to tell Congress whether the department experimented with weaponizing disease-carrying insects and whether they were released into the public realm — either accidentally or on purpose… The amendment, by New Jersey Republican Christopher H. Smith, says the inspector general “shall conduct a review of whether the Department of Defense experimented with ticks and other insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975...”

4 Kids, Ages 10 to 14, Steal Parent’s Car, Go On 600-Mile Road Trip. CBS News has the story: “Four kids from Australia did not let their age stop them from going on an unsupervised cross-country road trip on Sunday. The group, ages 10 to 14, stole a car from one of their parents and took a nearly 600-mile joy ride to go fishing, BBC News reports. The group packed the vehicle with fishing poles and began their adventure from Queensland to New South Wales. They stopped at a gas station in the town of Banana and allegedly stole gas. “[The children] locked themselves in the car and police have had to use a baton to get into the vehicle to arrest them,” Williams said, according to Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Williams said the four children most likely took turns driving during the trip, which can take about 10 hours…”

Photo credit: “The four kids, ages 10 to 14, took one of their parents’ cars to go on a fishing excursion.Queensland Police.

“Please Don’t Create Meth Gators”. CNN has the cautionary tale: “A Tennessee police department is warning residents to stop flushing drugs down their toilet and sinks out of fear they could create “meth gators.”  “Now our sewer guys take great pride in releasing water that is cleaner than what is in the creek, but they are not really prepared for meth,” according to a Loretto Police Department social media post. “Ducks, Geese, and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do.” The police posted the warning to Facebook on Saturday after officers found a suspect unsuccessfully trying to flush methamphetamine and paraphernalia at their home…”

File image: Wikipedia.

.01″ rain fell at MSP International Airport Tuesday. 2-3″ rains were reported a few miles north in Minneapolis and close-in suburbs.

85 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

84 F. average high on July 16.

86 F. high on July 16, 2018.

July 17, 2001: Lightning struck a Minnesota National Guard field training site located in Camp Ripley. Nearly two dozen Marine Corps reservists were sent to hospitals. Most were released after treatment.

July 17, 1952: 5.20 inches of rain falls in 3 1/2 hours at Moose Lake. Numerous basements flood, and Highway 61 becomes impassable at Willow River.

July 17, 1934: Frost damages crops across the north with lows of 34 in Baudette and Roseau.

WEDNESDAY: Muggy, T-storms late, heavy rain likely. Winds: S 10-15. High: 85

THURSDAY: Sunnier, hotter and drier. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 73. High: 92

FRIDAY: Sticky sunshine, late T-storm. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 75. High: near 90

SATURDAY: Cooler, passing shower or T-shower. Winds: N 8-13. Wake-up: 68. High: 84

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, lower humidity. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 65. High: 81

MONDAY: Sunny and comfortable again. Winds: NE 7-12. Wake-up: 61. High: near 80

TUESDAY: Blue sky, very pleasant. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 60. High: 82

Photo credit above: Tom Ring.

Climate Stories…

Temperatures in U.S. Cities to Break Heat Index by 2050, Study Warnings. We’re going to need a bigger heat index, according to new research summarized at Daily Beast: “Hundreds of U.S. cities could see an entire month each year with heat-index temperatures soaring above 100 degrees by 2050 if global warming isn’t curtailed, a terrifying new study has predicted. “Our analysis shows a hotter future that’s hard to imagine today,” said study co-author Kristina Dahl, climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Nearly everywhere, people will experience more days of dangerous heat in the next few decades.” The heat index is what the temperature feels like to the human body when humidity is combined with the air temperature. The study predicts the number of days each year when it feels like it’s more than 100 degrees will more than double nationally, with conditions becoming so extreme on some days that they’d break the current upper limit of the heat index…”

Photo credit: Reuters / Steve Marcus.

Could Climate Change Spark a Financial Crisis? Candidates Warn Feds It’s a Risk. InsideClimate News explains: “…It’s not just that fossil fuel projects, like other infrastructure investments, are at risk from severe weather events, a risk that lenders and insurance companies must shoulder. It’s also that when the world finally weans itself away from the fossil fuels whose use is driving global warming, the business models of some of the most heavily capitalized world industries could crumble along with demand for their products.  Investors call the problem “stranded assets,” and they’ve been warning about it for years. The challenge for the candidates is to convert the experts’ somewhat arcane and technical policy recommendations into a stump-speech sound bite or a debate-stage zinger...”

Bangladesh Grapples with Millions of Climate Refugees. UCANews.com has the story: “Bangladeshi cities are struggling to cope with an influx of millions of people from rural and coastal areas due to climate change-induced disasters, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told an international conference in capital Dhaka. “Evidence suggests that Bangladesh already has six million climate migrants, a number that could more than double by 2050 due to changes in temperature, increased frequency and severity of floods, drought, heat waves, cyclones and storm surges, sea level rises and salinity intrusion,” state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency quoted Hasina as saying on July 10...”

Photo credit: “A boatman ferries people across the Rupsa River during the rainy season in Bangladesh’s Khulna district on July 17, 2015. Low-lying Bangladesh is grappling with millions of climate refugees, a conference was told.” (Photo by Stephan Uttom/ucanews.com).

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...”