December 8

Mild Signal Continues Much of USA – ARkStorm Scenario – Chinese Weather Modification – Mental Health Risks of Wildfire Season

Not Excited About Friday Snow Just Yet. Here is the 12z Monday ECMWF solution, showing a period of light snow or flurries Friday, but the focus on the moisture remaining south and east of Minnesota. Map credit: WSI.

Strong Warm Temperature Trend in December. Dr. Mark Seeley connects the dots in the most recent edition of Minnesota WeatherTalk: ” We should not be surprised that December is bringing us warmer than normal temperatures. Since the new millennium (2000) 70 percent of Decembers have been warmer than normal, including the last six consecutive years based on statewide average temperature. This is a remarkable strong trend. In fact eleven of the warmest Decembers in state history (back to 1895) have occurred since the year 2001, including the warmest December in history in 2015 which averaged nearly 12°F warmer than normal. If the NOAA climate outlook for this December holds up we will record a month that is 4 to 6 degrees F warmer than normal and be the seventh consecutive warm December…”

December 13, 2015 file image: Paul Douglas.


About That Pacific Signal. GFS keeps trying to cool things down before Christmas, only to provide a solution the next day showing continued westerly winds from the Pacific, suggesting average or above average temperatures for much of the USA. I still don’t see any prolonged spells of colder than normal weather through late December, although at some point our luck (?) will probably run out.

The Long-Lasting Mental Health Effects of Wildfires. Smoke and poor air quality is only the beginning, reports Outside Online: “…But trauma is not always quantifiable; it manifests in myriad ways that are uncountable and untracked by official tallies, and unlike the immediate damage, it unfolds over time. A fire’s effect on a community is like the ripples of a stone dropped in water, says Erika Felix, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and a licensed psychologist who specializes in working with survivors of traumatic events. The most severe disturbances happen at the impact site, but that causes smaller ripples far from the point of impact. “There’s a subset of people who experience the most trauma and loss, then people with moderate and low levels,” she says. But there are exceptions; emotional weight affects everyone differently...”

China Vows to Beef Up Weather Modification Capabilities. Thomson Reuters Foundation reports: “China wants to boost its ability to modify the weather and will extend an artificial rain and snow programme to cover at least 5.5 million square kilometres of land by 2025, the country’s cabinet said late on Wednesday. The State Council said in policy guidelines that it would ensure that its weather modification capabilities would reach an “advanced” level by 2035, and would focus on revitalising rural regions, restoring ecosystems and minimising losses from natural disasters. China has frequently made use of cloud seeding technologies to relieve droughts or clear the air ahead of major international events. It has also been building a weather modification system in the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, Asia’s biggest freshwater reserve, with the aim of pumping large quantities of silver iodide into the clouds in a bid to increase rainfall…”

Shelf cloud file image from July 8, 2020: Paul Douglas.

California’s Trillion Dollar Mega-Disaster No One is Talking About. From drought and historic wildfires to biblical floods? The extremes are becoming more extreme, and a post at ABC News details one weather scenario few are talking about: “Disasters typically associated with the West Coast include devastating earthquakes and out-of-control wildfires, but there’s an epic disaster that could be far worse than both — and it could happen at any point. Officials and experts call it the “ARkStorm,” and it is the other “big one” few are talking about. With California’s 2020 rainy season now underway, imagine almost a month of drenching storms along the entire West Coast. The state would be swallowed in 10 to 20 feet of rain. At up to 200 inches in some places, floods would hit nearly every major population center in the state…”

Image credit: United States Geological Survey. “Rendering by USGS of what a “mega ARkStorm” could look like.”

Hurricane Hunters Reflect on Historic Season. WWL-TV in New Orleans has the story; here’s an excerpt: “...Looking back on the historic season, Smithies said the hardest part was knowing just how close to home some storms were hitting. “We have everyone living from New Orleans to Biloxi to Mobile so we are constantly away flying storms either out of home station or flying them out of other places. To have so much of the activity threatening home for us was tough this year,” said Smithies.  “How did you cope with so many storms so close to home this year?,” asked Dudley.   “I hate to use the word compartmentalize but it’s part of what we have to do,” said Smithies. “I mean duty calls and our mission is extremely important. We know that so we have to just prepare our families and homes the best we can and hope that everything is all good when we come home...”

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