“Hey Siri, Tell Paul To Settle Down”

Someday, will Apple’s Siri use artificial intelligence to create a personalized weather forecast so good that flesh and blood meteorologists become irrelevant? “Hey Alexa, predict what my next career will be?”

Everything is being disrupted. Nobody gets a pass. There are no ‘lifetime gigs’. Computers already pick stocks better/faster/cheaper than traders. Why not the weather?

That day may come, but short-term, humans add value in unique ways: perspective, analysis, context and better storytelling skills. That said, I want to live long enough to watch a cyborg point to a green screen.

Siri informs me that no disruptive storms are imminent this week. A cold bias lingers, with temperatures 10-15F colder than average. The atmosphere is cold enough for snow, but deep moisture remains south and east of Minnesota.

Chicago may see a few inches of slush on Halloween, with a parade of storms for the eastern USA.

On our chilling menu: a diet of Alberta Clippers and jacket-worthy days. Not a gossip-worthy storm in

Cold Cycle. Twin Cities temperatures run 10-15F below average into the first week or two of November, according to ECMWF. Graphic: WeatherBell.

Cold but Relatively Dry. The overall jet stream configuration seems to favor big storms for the eastern third to half of the USA, with the most significant rain and snow events east of Minnesota over the next 2 weeks. Expect a family of clippers, each one creating cold, Canadian exhaust in its wake.

Record-Setting Pace for Rainfall Continues. Here’s a clip from this week’s edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk, courtesy of Dr. Mark Seeley: “…With the rains of this week, the statewide average precipitation for this October is now very near 4.40 inches, ranking as the 6th wettest month of October in Minnesota history (and with six more days to go). Over 25 climate stations have reported over 6 inches of precipitation for the month, with parts of Pine, Mower, and Lake Counties reporting over 7 inches, over 3 times normal. As for year-to-date precipitation in 2019 many areas of the state are still on a record setting pace, with a large fraction of the Minnesota landscape already recording over 40 inches for the year. Climate stations reported 12-20 inches of above normal precipitation in 2019 are not uncommon. Rochester stands at 51.08 inches to-date, the wettest ever previous year was 43.94 inches in 1990…”
Map credit above: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Twin Cities Snowfall. Above or below average this winter? Place your bets. The last 2 winters at MSP were considerably snowier than average, but the previous 2 winters only saw MSP snow totals in the 30s.

Kincaid Fire: The Age of Flames is Consuming California. There have always been fires, but the size, intensity and ferocity of these blazes is increasing. Here’s an excerpt from WIRED.com (paywall): “…Welcome to what fire historian Steve Pyne calls the Pyrocene, a unique time in history when human use of fire, particularly the burning of fossil fuels, and the attendant climate change combine to create hell on Earth. “We are creating a fire age that will be equivalent to the Ice Age,” he says. The reckoning is here, and California—a highly flammable state packed with people—is getting it worse than just about anybody in the world. There’s good reason that, for the past three years, Northern California has seen particularly massive, fast-moving wildfires tear through communities. Every autumn, winds blow in from the northeast, heating up and picking up speed as they descend through mountain valleys. This sucks moisture out of vegetation, turning it into the perfect fuel for wildfires…”

File photo: Associated Press.

Sunday Tornadoes Were Costliest in Texas History. AP has the details: “An insurance industry group says the nine tornadoes that struck the Dallas area during a Sunday night outbreak caused an estimated $2 billion in insured losses.The Insurance Council of Texas said the estimate, which it called “pretty conservative,” makes the tornado outbreak the costliest in state history. It exceeds the $1.2 billion in insured losses caused by a Dec. 26, 2015, tornado that killed 10 people in eastern Dallas suburbs. The National Weather Service says the strongest tornado Sunday hit the heavily populated north Dallas area, where the EF3 twister had peak winds of 140 mph (225 kph) and was on the ground for more than 15 miles (25 kilometers)...”

Photo credit: “Firefighters walk in a neighborhood damaged by a tornado in Dallas, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. The National Weather Service says nine tornadoes struck the Dallas area during Sunday’s stretch of severe storms in Texas.” (AP Photo/LM Otero).

Of All the Mistakes a Local News Outlet Can Make – This Is The Worst. I have to agree with TV meteorologist Dan Satterfield, writing for AGU Blogosphere: “…It will take years for that station to gain the trust of viewers back. I’ve seen this before and nothing can be more damaging to the reputation of a television station. All of those weather promos telling their audience that they can trust them to give them advance warning of dangerous weather were a waste. KXAS almost certainly had far far more calls Sunday complaining about the interruption (when they finally did break into the game) than those who said thanks.  When people call complaining about their program being interrupted for severe weather (and believe me, the do in droves) most stations ignore it. They know that this information is far more important than a fictional sit-com or old rerun. It’s even more important than a live sporting event. So, you can call, but if the situation is serious, you are wasting your time. What happened in Dallas explains why…”

Dallas Tornado: Satellite Photos Reveal Twisters’ Path from Above. Capital Weather Gang has a good post; here’s the intro: “A damaging tornado ripped through northwest Dallas and surrounding areas Sunday night, one of at least nine to touch down amid a severe weather outbreak. Stunning before and after photos from satellites have since emerged depicting the tempest’s fury as up to 140 mph winds carved a path 15 miles long. The photos, from Planet Labs, are sobering, revealing the power and caprice of the voracious vortex. It also illustrates the scale — the major streets align on a roughly one-square-mile grid. At the bottom of the image below, running west to east, you see Walnut Hill Lane in Preston Hollow. Above that, you can see a clustering of large buildings within a field. Among these buildings are the Cary Junior High School, Edward H. Cary Middle School and Thomas Jefferson High School, below the red track…”

Image credit: “Satellite imagery from Monday reveals where Sunday night’s tornado carved a path of heavy damage through parts of northwest and northern Dallas.” (Planet Labs).

Walmart Wants Robots in Stores. Target Doesn’t. CNN explains: “Walmart and Target are taking different approaches to adding robots in stores, a split that will have an impact on the companies’ massive workforces and shape the future of automation in retail.  Both of these legacy brick-and-mortar companies are testing robots in their warehouses. Walmart (WMT), the country’s largest retailer and private employer, expects to add self-driving robots that scrub floors to 1,860 of its more-than 4,700 US stores by February. It will also add robots that scan shelf inventory at 350 stores and bots at 1,700 stores that automatically scan boxes as they come off delivery trucks and sort them by department onto conveyer belts…”

How Dick’s Sporting Goods is Building a Post-Gun Future. A story at Fortune.com caught my eye; here’s an excerpt: “…Dick’s has removed guns altogether from 125 of its 727 namesake stores to see what could replace sales, and just sold eight of its 18 standalone hunting Field & Stream stores. In fact, the company’s entire hunting business, including guns, is up for “strategic review.” To offset that business, Dick’s wants to aggressively pursue more serious athletes, not just the casual player, and the outdoor crowd that usually shops at REI or L.L. Bean. It’s also adding more experiential elements to its stores, including HitTrax baseball batting cages and indoor golf driving ranges to help shoppers find the right clubs...”

Photo credit: “The original Dick’s store in Binghamton, N.Y.

When Binge Drinking Becomes and Artform. BBC News has the story: “What do you get when you mix a pint of beer, a can of Pepsi, a huge glass of flaming spirits, and a raw egg?For Liu Shichao – who filmed himself downing the lot in eight seconds – you get 12 million views on Twitter and a worldwide fanbase. And that video wasn’t a one-off. In another clip, he smokes a cigarette, ignites six cocktails, and swallows them all (800,000 views on Twitter). In another, he mixes vodka, whisky, red wine, beer – and, of course, the trademark egg – and drinks it like water (a mere 500,000 views). Most of Liu’s supporters are men – “I guess they also love drinking, maybe there is a little sense of jealousy” – but his wife does not share their admiration…”

38 F. maximum temperature in the Twin Cities on Monday.

52 F. average high on October 28.

57 F. high on October 28, 2018.

October 29, 2004: Exceptionally muggy conditions for October are felt over much of the state. Dew points surged into the middle to upper 60’s over central and southern Minnesota. Ladybugs are extremely active.

October 29, 1955: Early snow hits the Twin Cities, accumulating to 2.2 inches.

October 29, 1905: Several inches of snowfall accumulate in south central Minnesota. Snow totals included 7 inches at Fairmont, 6 inches at Farmington, 4.5 inches at Montevideo, 4 inches at Faribault, and 3 inches at New London.

TUESDAY: Partly sunny and brisk. Winds: W 7-12. High: near 40

WEDNESDAY: Sunny start, then clouds increase. Winds: W 3-8. Wake-up: 23. High: 37

HALLOWEEN: More clouds than sun, chilly. Winds: W 5-10. Wake-up: 22. High: 39

FRIDAY: Next clipper whips up flurries. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 29. High: 40

SATURDAY: Mostly cloudy, grab a jacket. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 28. High: 41

SUNDAY: PM rain showers (mix up north?) Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 30. High: 43

MONDAY: Another clipper, burst of wet snow. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 33. High: 41

Climate Stories….

MIT Engineers Unveil Emissions-Free Cement. Say what? Call me crazy but at first blush this seems like a major breakthrough. Big Think explains: “MIT engineers have developed a new method of making concrete without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Cement production is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in industry, accounting for 8 percent of total emissions worldwide. That’s why some have called on architects and builders to abandon cement. “If we invented concrete today, nobody would think it was a good idea,” said architectural engineer Michael Ramage at the Architecture of Emergency climate summit in London in September. “We’ve got this liquid and you need special trucks, and it takes two weeks to get hard. And it doesn’t even work if you don’t put steel in it…”

The U.S. and China Need To Put Aside Their Rivalry and Focus on a Common Enemy: Climate Change. Here’s the intro to an essay at TIME.com: “The U.S. worries that China has become a political and economic threat. China worries that the U.S. is attempting to constrain it. These concerns increasingly resemble a classic Cold War conflict. Such security threats are misplaced. Trade wars and technology competition notwithstanding, there is one overarching global security concern that by its very nature should lead to collaboration and cooperation rather than Cold War antagonism: climate change. We are today witnessing a devastating global crisis in the making. It is happening worldwide, even as climate change’s impacts are immediately felt locally, regionally, and nationally. Make no mistake—ferocious climate events are not just causing extensive physical damage and loss of livelihood—they are creating insecurities that will grow each year and subsume all other existing security fears...”

Photo credit: Doug Kruhoeffer.

Technology Will Not Save Us from Climate Change, But Imagining New Forms of Society Will. Smart growth, smart development, a new generation of green, sustainable agriculture, electrifying transportation and electricity production. Will that be enough? Here’s an excerpt of a story at Phys.org: “...One reason for this is that cutting carbon use depends on changing social norms and behavior as much as technology—whether local food sourcing or reducing fast fashion. Another reason is the urgent need to show the skeptics that they won’t necessarily be harmed by things like higher petrol prices or shrinking traditional industries like coal mining. A can mean many more jobs, for example in refurbishment or recycling e-waste. But this requires a very different approach to innovation, in which investment in new technology is matched by investment in new ways of organizing society. And investment in technology alone has dominated the last century...”

U.S. Military Could Collapse Within 20 Years Due to Climate Change, Report Commissioned by Pentagon Says. Say what? VICE.com has the story: “According to a new U.S. Army report, Americans could face a horrifically grim future from climate change involving blackouts, disease, thirst, starvation and war. The study found that the US military itself might also collapse. This could all happen over the next two decades, the report notes. The senior US government officials who wrote the report are from several key agencies including the Army, Defense Intelligence Agency, and NASA. The study called on the Pentagon to urgently prepare for the possibility that domestic power, water, and food systems might collapse due to the impacts of climate change as we near mid-century...”

As Climate Changes, More U.S. Cities Must Brace for High Heat, Bitter Cold and Worse. Here’s a clip from a post at CBS News: “…While cities like St. Louis are making headway girding for climate change, not enough metro areas are reporting their potential hazards or conducting assessments, said Katie Walsh of CDP North America. The list of lagging cities include Louisville, Kentucky; Sacramento and San Jose, California; Kansas City, Missouri; Fort Worth, Texas; and Anchorage, Alaska.  “Cities that are able to identify the risks that they have are in a better position to be able to respond and react and adapt because they can put in planning efforts,” she said. Other cities making progress in mitigating climate change risks include New York and San Francisco, though some smaller places are also moving forward…”

Stressed About Climate Change? Eight Tips For Managing Eco-Anxiety. NewScientist has the post; here’s an excerpt: “…If you are feeling anxious about the environment, here are eight approaches for managing your eco-anxiety and feeling less hopeless. There was disagreement at the meeting over the value of lifestyle changes. The impact of individual actions can be very small, but psychotherapist Mary-Jayne Rust suggested that changing your lifestyle to be more compatible with your values can help with eco-anxiety. Researchers from Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute offered several ways to do this: eat less meat and dairy, drive less and stop buying and disposing of so many items. “We live in a throwaway society,” said the institute’s Neil Jennings. “We consume much more than we need and it’s not making us happy...”

Sports Are Feeling the Heat from Climate Change. Here’s the intro to a story at Bloomberg Opinion: “Climate change is likely to melt glaciers, raise sea levels and obliterate vulnerable species. It may also disrupt venerable sporting traditions. The 2020 Olympic marathon, previously scheduled for Tokyo, is now being relocated to cooler Sapporo, thanks to extreme heatwaves that have killed hundreds and hospitalized thousands in recent years.It’s no isolated incident. As global temperatures rise, athletic events as diverse as Iditarod races and baseball games are feeling the effects. Sports may seem inconsequential next to other climate disruptions, such as habitat loss or warming seas…”

Photo credit: “Maybe rethink this one.” Photographer: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP.