August 26

Tropical Storm Isaias Threatens Florida and Carolinas – Baghdad Hits a Record 125F

Tracking “Isaias” “Nature has a myriad of weapons to combat human arrogance” wrote film director Wayne Gerard Trotman. Tell me about it. From Texas-size hurricanes to invisible, microscopic viruses. We delude ourselves into thinking we’re in charge – but nature always bats last. “Isaias” is forecast to remain a tropical storm as it churns up the east coast of Florida; hurricane-force gusts are possible Saturday, with moderate coastal erosion and inland flooding from Florida to the Carolinas. Isaias is the earliest 9th storm on record. This may be an intense hurricane season, made much worse by the pandemic. August: Nearly...

mosquito biting human
August 25

Tropical Trouble Brewing for Florida and the Carolinas

Extended Outlook Calls for More Mosquitoes. “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir?” economist John Maynard Keynes dryly observed. We have the freedom to change our minds. I have more respect for people who change their minds based on new evidence, rather than digging in their heels and cherry-picking data to support an opinion. Based on a wealth of evidence, the climate is warming, and new research shows mosquito season at MSP has grown from 114 days in the 1980s to 120 days in the 2010s. If anyone asks (doubtful) mosquitoes survive best between...

August 25

Dangerous Hurricane Laura Threatens Coastal Texas and Louisiana – Tracking Smoke from Western Wildfires

Briefing: Issued Monday morning, August 24th, 2020: A long week of weather is ahead along the northern/northwestern Gulf Coast as both Tropical Storm Laura (located south of central Cuba this morning) and Tropical Storm Marco (in the northern Gulf of Mexico) threaten the region. Marco is expected to either scrape or make landfall across southern Louisiana today into Tuesday, weakening while it does so. However, it will still bring the threat of damaging winds, storm surge, and flooding rains along with it to the northern Gulf Coast. Laura will continue to move near/across Cuba today and tonight. By early Tuesday...

hurricane Florence from space
August 24

Tropical System Threatens Florida – Pandemic Complicates Hurricane Evacuation Plans

Hurricane Evacuations During a Pandemic? How on Earth do you safely evacuate tens or even hundreds of thousands of people inland, during the Age of Covid-19? Great question. We may soon find out. “Hanna” was a dry run in south Texas and “Douglas” narrowly missed Hawaii. Now there’s a new tropical system which may, in theory, impact Florida this weekend. Giving people more time to prepare, opening up hotels, in addition to schools, to evacuees, and encouraging people who’s homes are up to code to stay put may help, but during a chaotic rush inland, social distancing and mask hygiene...

August 13

Difficulties of Predicting Severe Thunderstorms – “Josephine” Forms – La Nina Brewing

Severe Storm Specifics In Advance? Good Luck Cue the theme from “Mission Impossible”. One of the few challenges greater than predicting how many inches of snow will pile up in YOUR yard is when and where severe storms may bubble up. Once they’ve formed we can track dangerous storms, leveraging a network of 160 “NEXRAD” Doppler radar sites operated by The National Weather Service. New high-resolution models, including NOAA’s HRRR (High-Resolution Rapid Refresh) update every hour at 3km resolution. Meteorologists can give a few hours lead-time, but predicting which towns will be hit hard vs. other towns that experience a...

August 13

USA Heat Wave Lingers Into Late August – Tornado Alley No-Show in 2020

  Extended Outlook: Simmering Heat Into Late August. GFS guidance continues to plant a giant heat-pump high pressure bubble over much of the USA the last week of August, meaning more 90s and excessive heat indices. That should mean 80s, even a shot at a few 90s, for Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. What is a Derecho? Dr. Marshall Shepherd has a good explainer at Forbes; here’s an excerpt: “…NOAA defines a derecho as, “(pronounced similar to “deh-REY-cho” in English, or pronounced phonetically as “”) a widespread, long-lived wind storm.” They are typically associated with organized bands of rapidly moving...

August 12

August 11: Derecho Climatology – Growing Risk of “Josephine”?

What Exactly Is a Derecho, Paul? Tracking CBs on WSR-88D Doppler? ECMWF, AWIPS, now derecho? Meteorologists LOVE to toss around funky terms. The derecho that blasted Iowa with 115 mph wind gusts Monday tracked 750 miles, from North Dakota to Indiana. This sprawling boomerang-shaped line of fast moving storms produced extensive straight-line wind damage, comparable to an EF-1 tornado. Derechos are rare, but climatology from SPC (sorry, the Storm Prediction Center) suggests parts of central Minnesota see a derecho every year. Hurricane-force winds, but only lasting for 30 to to 45 minutes. Yikes. What is a Derecho? Dr. Marshall Shepherd...

sunset off of lake
August 11

Wild Storms Hit Twin Cities on Minnesota – 34 Days above 110F in Phoenix

A Night of Pure (Minnesota) Meteorological Madness Live long enough and you’ll see (almost) everything. It felt like being in the middle of Tropical Storm Earl. Sunday night’s display of meteorological mayhem was one for the ages. Northfield saw 3 inch diameter hail, but most of the big hail reports were southern & western suburbs ofv MSP. Buffalo saw three different waves of golfball-size hail! 1 to 2 month’s worth of rain soaked some communities. Cody Matz at Fox 9 estimates 1-2 lightning flashes per second at the height of the storm. Continuous lightning produced a steady roar of thunder....

August 7

NOAA: “Extremely Active” Tropical Season Likely – August Rainfall Climatology

Pandemic May Be Impacting Forecast Accuracy Meteorology is not an exact science, like economics, foreign policy and dating. Predicting any future state of the atmosphere depends on how well we can capture fluid dynamics within a weather model, and the accuracy and frequency of data powering that model. Think low-octane vs. high-octane fuel. Right now we may be using the cheap stuff. The pandemic has impacted the airlines with fewer flights, and that means less upper-air data flowing into the simulations we rely on to have a prayer of getting the forecast right. Couple that with what’s now predicted to...