The Doppler is Down – Cue the Heavy Rain!

I picked a bad week to stop tossing back fistfuls of antacids. Mother Nature has a wicked sense of humor.

Exhibit A: models predict as much as 3 inches of rain by Friday, with severe storms possible later this week. That’s unfortunate, considering the Twin Cities-based Doppler radar is down for maintenance until at least September 19.

Doppler has revolutionized tracking and prediction of tornadoes, hail, heavy snow and flash floods; it’s been cranking away in Chanhassen for nearly 25 years. The pedestal that turns the Doppler antenna needs be refurbished so it can last another 15-20 years.

We’re stuck in a stormy pattern this week, but NOAA is reminding Minnesotans that nearby Dopplers in La Crosse and Duluth will be used to ensure non-stop storm coverage.

We get a brief break today with some lukewarm sunshine before waves of showers and storms return Wednesday and Thursday.

Skies begin to dry out Friday with improving weather this weekend. The mercury may rise close to 90F by early next week!

NOAA’s Chief Scientist Will Investigate Why Agency Backed Trump Over Its Experts on Dorian. The Washington Post has the latest in this sad, surreal saga: “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting chief scientist said in an email to colleagues Sunday that he is investigating whether the agency’s response to President Trump’s Hurricane Dorian tweets constituted a violation of NOAA policies and ethics. Also on Monday, the director of the National Weather Service broke with NOAA leadership over its handling of Trump’s Dorian tweets and statements. In an email to NOAA staff that was obtained by The Washington Post, the official, Craig McLean, called the agency’s response “political” and a “danger to public health and safety.” Trump’s incorrect assertion on Sept. 1 that Alabama “would most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” set off a chain of confusion and outrage among the public, and within NOAA. At the time, the National Weather Service’s forecast guidance showed only a very small risk (about 5 percent) of tropical-storm-force winds for a small portion of Alabama...”

Best Day of the Week? The sun should be out today with afternoon temperatures near 80F. If you need a dry day go for it – because showers and T-storms return Wednesday and Thursday and we won’t dry out again until late Friday. Map credit: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

Lukewarm September. Don’t be fooled by yesterday’s cool weather – there’s every indication September will trend warmer than average for much of the USA, including Minnesota.

Hurricanes Used to be Named After Women. Until These Feminists Stepped In. If you want something changed, speak up, right? Here’s an excerpt from The Lily: “…In 1953, the United States officially began exclusively using female names to identify tropical systems that formed during hurricane season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Feminists, most notably the late Roxcy Bolton — who is credited for creating the term “himmicane” — began to fight the tradition as early as the late 1960s. Male names wouldn’t be added to the rotation until nearly a decade later, said Liz Skilton, a professor of history at the University of Louisiana and author of “Tempest: Hurricane Naming and American Culture.” Bolton took particular issue with the naming of storms after Hurricane Camille devastated the Gulf Coast in 1969...”

Hurricane Patricia file image: ISS13 and NASA.

“Bigger Picture, It’s Climate Change”. Great Lakes Flood Ravages Homes and Roads. Lakes…flooding? Yep. Here’s a clip from The Guardian: “…The havoc wreaked on communities bordering the Great Lakes is a result of their water level steadily rising over the last five years and spiking to record levels this spring and summer. In 2019, the lakes’ depths ranged from 14in to nearly 3ft above long-term averages, according to data from the US army corps of engineers. In June, water in the Lakes St Clair, Ontario, Superior and Erie set records for monthly mean levels, while Lake Michigan-Huron rose to 1in from its recorded peak. That is leading to widespread damage in coastal cities, eroded shorelines and beaches and many other issues. The record levels come just five years after the lakes experienced historically low levels in 2014, and climate scientists say it is clear what’s fueling the drastic swing: the Earth’s rising temperatures…”

Photo credit: “There’s no doubt that we are in a region where climate change is having an impact,’ said Richard B Rood, a University of Michigan professor.” Photograph: Colter Peterson/AP.

What To Do After a Hurricane. I wrote a story for Medium underscoring a sad point: many people survive the hurricane, only to perish in the aftermath, days or even weeks/months after the storm strikes. Here’s an excerpt from Medium: “Technological breakthroughs like weather satellites and computer models have lowered the death toll over time, but there are harrowing exceptions. In spite of timely warnings, Hurricane Katrina (2005) left 1,833 dead and Hurricane Maria (2017) killed 2,981 people. It may be counterintuitive, but most of the deaths occurred days or even weeks after the hurricane struck. “Statistics now show that more people are being killed or injured after the storm rather than during it” says meteorologist Dennis Feltgen, Communications & Public Affairs Officer at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami. How is that possible? As the graphic above explains, hurricane survivors are often victims of heart failure and other medical maladies, vehicle accidents, fires and electrocution. It’s very possible to survive the storm, but not the aftermath…”

NASA’s Multiple Views of Hurricane Dorian from Space. has a timely post on the imaging resource available from low Earth orbit: “Several instruments and spacecraft from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have eyes on Hurricane Dorian, capturing different types of data from the storm. NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), aboard the Aqua satellite, senses emitted infrared and microwave radiation from Earth. The information is used to map such atmospheric phenomena as temperature, humidity, and cloud amounts and heights. In the AIRS imagery of Dorian, captured during the afternoon (local time) of Aug. 29, 2019, the large purple area indicates very cold clouds carried high into the atmosphere by deep thunderstorms. These clouds are also associated with heavy rainfall. Blue and green indicate warmer areas with shallower rain clouds, while the orange and red areas represent mostly cloud-free air…”

Image credit: “Three images of Hurricane Dorian, as seen by a trio of NASA’s Earth-observing satellites Aug. 27-29, 2019. The data sent by the spacecraft revealed in-depth views of the storm, including detailed heavy rain, cloud height and wind.” Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

The Shocking Paper Predicting the End of Democracy. I sure hope this is wrong, but in the spirit of full disclosure here’s a clip from a story at POLITICO: “…We’re to blame, said Rosenberg. As in “we the people.” Democracy is hard work. And as society’s “elites”—experts and public figures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule—have increasingly been sidelined, citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well-functioning democracy. As a consequence, the center has collapsed and millions of frustrated and angst-filled voters have turned in desperation to right-wing populists. His prediction? “In well-established democracies like the United States, democratic governance will continue its inexorable decline and will eventually fail...”

Are Smartphones a Gateway Drug? The Lighthouse at Macquarie University in Australia has some disturbing new findings: “…Neuroscience research shows that smartphones are making us stupider, less social, more forgetful, more prone to addiction, sleepless and depressed, and poor at navigation – so why are we giving them to kids? Williams is currently contributing to a large study at Macquarie investigating the relationship between social media addiction, gaming addiction and porn addiction. “All addiction is based on the same craving for a dopamine response, whether it’s drug, gambling, alcohol or phone addiction,” he says. “As the dopamine response drops off, you need to increase the amount you need to get the same result, you want a little bit more next time. Neurologically, they all look the same. “We know – there are lots of studies on this – that once we form an addiction to something, we become more vulnerable to other addictions…”

He Was Bullied for His Homemade U. of Tennessee T-Shirt. The School Just Made It an Official Design. CNN has a heartwarming story: “A Florida student obsessed with the University of Tennessee wanted to represent the Volunteers during his elementary school’s “College Colors Day,” but didn’t own any of their apparel — so he took the matter into his own hands. Laura Snyder, his teacher at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, says he drew a “U.T.”, the university’s logo, on paper and pinned it to an orange t-shirt….kids at lunch made fun of him…n hopes of raising his spirits, Snyder said she planned on buying him an official University of Tennessee T-shirt, and asked friends if they had contacts with the school who could “make it a little extra special for him.” By Thursday, her Facebook post had gone viral among Vols fans, with lots of people leaving supportive comments...”

63 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.

75 F. average high on September 9.

73 F. high on September 9, 2018.

September 10, 2002: A late-season tornado strikes Albertville just after midnight .According to a damage survey conducted by NWS personnel, it touched down on the eastern edge of Cedar Creek Golf Course, then it moved straight east and dissipated in a city park just west of the railroad tracks. It completely tore the roof off of one home. Roofs were partially off a number of other homes, many attached garages collapsed, and a couple of houses were rotated on their foundation. About 20 homes were damaged, nine of which sustained significant damage.

September 10, 1986: 3 inch hail falls in Watonwan County.

September 10, 1947: Downpours fall across the Iron Range. Hibbing receives 8.6 inches in three hours.

September 10, 1931: St Cloud experiences a record high of 106 degrees, and it reaches 104 degrees in Minneapolis.

September 10, 1910: The shortest growing season on record in Duluth ends, with frost free days from June 14 to September 10 (87 days). Normally the frost-free season is 143 days.

TUESDAY: Peeks of sun. Winds: W 7-12. High: near 80

WEDNESDAY: Heavy showers and T-storms likely. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 62. High: 70

THURSDAY: More T-storms, a few may be severe. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 64. High: 76

FRIDAY: Cooler with passing showers. Winds: W 10-15. Wake-up: 59. High: 69

SATURDAY: Partly sunny and milder. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 55. High: 76

SUNDAY: Warm sun, isolated thundershower. Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 63. High: 82

MONDAY: Summer flashback. Sunny, almost hot. Winds: S 8-13. Wake-up: 67. High: 87

Climate Stories….

Earth to CEO: Your Company is Already At Risk from Climate Change. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from McKinsey’s & Co. Sustainability Practice, courtesy of Fortune Magazine: “Does your business treat climate change as a far-off risk, something for the future but not a priority today?  That’s a mistake. Climate change is here. Its economic impact is real and growing, and action now is essential. Look at Florida’s tidal flooding, for example. Waters rose above the “nuisance” threshold in parts of Miami-Dade 14 days a year on average between 2005 and 2017, more than triple the rate of the 11 years prior. Or consider extreme heat like we saw this summer across Europe and are increasingly experiencing globally. In northern India, summer temperatures are hitting 120 degrees Fahrenheit, shutting down outdoor work in cities and entire regions for days at a time. Or agricultural degradation: In some parts of Brazil, the usual two-crop growing season may now only yield a single crop. Around the world, the list goes on and on…”

A Climate Change Frontier in the World’s Northernmost Town. Reuters has the photo essay; here’s a clip: “…We are losing the Svalbard we know. We are losing the Arctic as we know it because of climate change,” he says amid the constant crackle and trickle of the ice dissolving. “This is a forewarning of all the hardship and problems that will spread around the planet.” Since 1970, average annual temperatures have risen by 4 degrees Celsius in Svalbard, with winter temperatures rising more than 7 degrees, according to a report released by the Norwegian Centre for Climate Services in February. The “Climate in Svalbard 2100” report also warns that the annual mean air temperature in Svalbard is projected to increase by 7 to 10 degrees Celsius by the end of this century…”

The Hellish Future of Las Vegas in the Climate Crisis. “A Place Where We Never Go Outside”. The Guardian looks at the trends and projections; here’s an excerpt: “…And it will get worse. Las Vegas is the fastest-warming city in the United States, its temperatures having risen 5.76F since 1970. A June study of coroner data by the Las Vegas-based Desert Research Institute found a correlation between heatwaves and heat-related deaths in southern Nevada, both of which, they say, are on the rise. And a recent Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report warns that without global action to reduce carbon emissions, the city will probably experience 96 days of heat above 100F by the end of the century, including 60 days over 105F, and seven “off the chart” days that would break the current heat index...”

File photo credit: “Ricki McElwee walks with a bag of his ice on his head to cool off, 25 July 2018, in Las Vegas.” Photograph: John Locher/AP.

Worst-Case Phoenix Heat Wave Could Harm Thousands. Alarmist hype? I sure hope so. Tell that to people in France where extreme summer heat this year is linked to at least 1,500 premature deaths. Here’s an excerpt from Vox: “To live in the 21st century is to live with the threat of weather growing more and more wicked. Droughts, heat waves, and wildfires are growing more intense and dangerous from global warming and rising greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, we’re not reckoning with scientists’ predictions that worst-case weather scenarios will be more likely — and common — if we don’t change course. Only 41 percent of the American public believes climate change will affect them personally, a 2018 survey by Yale and George Mason University found. Phoenix, Arizona, is susceptible to a heat wave that could peak at a staggering 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Southern California could face a wildfire that burns 1.5 million acres of land. Tampa, Florida, could see 26 feet of storm surge flooding from a hurricane, just below the record-breaking 28-foot storm surge of Hurricane Katrina…”

Photo credit: “People bathe in the Trocadero Fountain in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris during a heatwave on June 28.” ZAKARIA ABDELKAFI/AFP.

Dorian Drives Home Warnings of Climate Influence on Hurricanes. Here’s an excerpt from Scientific American: “…In fact, five of the 10 strongest Atlantic storms have occurred since 2016, according to NOAA. They are Dorian, Michael, Maria, Irma and Matthew. All packed winds of at least 157 mph, and each caused tens of billions of dollars in damage, according to NOAA and the Insurance Information Institute. Maria, Irma and Michael were Category 5 storms when they struck the United States; Matthew was a Category 5 as it entered the Caribbean but weakened substantially by the time it made landfall in South Carolina. Scientists have warned that hurricane intensity will rise over the next century as ocean waters warm, providing more energy to tropical systems as they move toward land. Research since 2017 has borne out such predictions, with larger, wetter and more destructive hurricanes occurring almost annually...”

Image credit: “Astronaut Nick Hague, aboard the International Space Station, posted this photograph of Hurricane Dorian to Twitter on Sept. 2, 2019.”  Credit: Nick Hague NASA

Why Are More Extreme Storms Stalling. Harvey, Florence, now Dorian – all stalling for extended periods of time, compounding rainfall, destructive winds and storm surges. Is there a climate connection? Here’s an excerpt from Big Think: “…In recent years, scientists have identified a pattern: Severe hurricanes are not only becoming stronger and more common, but many are also moving more slowly and even stalling, as Hurricane Harvey did over Houston for days in 2017, dumping 60 inches of rain in the process. A study published in June by NASA and NOAA scientists showed that the average forward speed of North Atlantic hurricanes has slowed from 11.5 mph in 1944 to 9.6 mph in 2017. So, is climate change making hurricanes slower? It’s too early to say for sure, and the issue is still an area of debate among climate scientists...”

Climate Change is Also Terrible for Your Ragweed Allergy. A post at Quartz has the good news: “…Ragweed thrives in hot, wet weather—precisely the kind of summer we now know to be typical of the climate crisis. This year, the US has experienced above-average rainfall, coupled with warm temperatures. Such perfect conditions (for ragweed) beget more plants, producing a longer ragweed season and postponing relief for allergy sufferers. “The last few years, the trend has been for higher ragweed counts, and part of that is the longer season and general climate warming,” allergist Stanley Fineman told Web MD. “We anticipate the pollen will be significant this year...”

Photo credit: “Don’t get too close.” AP Photo/Daniel Hulshizer.