Articles by Paul Douglas

July 28

Dangerous Heat Indices – Toasty Olympics – Next Generation Wildfire Tracking Uses Satellites and AI

Heat Index Alert: Hottest Day of 2021? Based on predicted heat indices today will, in all probability, feel like the hottest day of the year. Unlike June, when we saw 90s (99F on June 5) with dry air, today’s upper 90s will be accompanied by a dew point in the 70s, making it feel as hot as 105-110F by late afternoon. Check on neighbors to make sure they are keeping cool. Don’t even consider leaving a child in a vehicle. In a matter of minutes on a day like today temperatures rise to 115-120F inside a car or truck. An...

July 26

Summer of Wild Weather Extremes – 25″ Rain in 24 Hours in China – “Pyrocumulus” Clouds Spell Trouble

US Drought Monitor Slight Severe Threat Today – 90s Return I have tried to connect the dots between a warming climate and increasingly extreme weather events for nearly 25 years. This summer has been a sobering Exhibit A. Drought in Minnesota and 40 percent of the USA at last count. LA-size fires in Oregon and wildfire smoke stretching coast to coast. 121F in Lytton, British Columbia, leveled by fire less than 2 days later. But nothing could prepare me for Zhengzhou, China, where 8 inches of rain fell in one HOUR, 24 inches (a year’s worth of rain) in 2...

July 22

Excessive Heat Northern Tier USA Into Early August – Wet Bulb Warning – Extreme Flooding Rocks Nigeria and China

Twin Cities National Weather Service Another Surge Of Heat Is Imminent It turns out 1-6 month climate models may do a better job predicting heat and drought than floods. Back in March and April I mentioned that a consensus of NOAA’s climate models were predicting a hotter, drier summer – a forecast that has most definitely verified. Floods are harder, with a much shorter lead time, as storms or fronts stall. We may never be able to offer up more than 1-3 days of warning for extreme floods like the ones that struck western Europe, Lagos, Nigeria and Zhengzhou, China...

July 21

Heat Builds Again Across USA – Importance of Wet Bulb Temperature – Las Vegas is America’s Driest City

All sharing options NOAA US Drought Monitor Drought Deepens in Minnesota – Watering Bans More Likely. Star Tribune reports; here’s an excerpt: “…With about half of Minnesota now in the grip of severe drought — and 4% in extreme drought — the state has officially shifted into the “drought warning phase,” the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced Friday. The deepening drought is turning the summer into a sobering lesson in resource conservation. “This is time to remind ourselves about how valuable water is,” said Randall Doneen, the DNR’s manager of conservation assistance and regulations. “It really doesn’t look...

July 8

In Praise of Window Seats – Warming Climate Spiked Last Week’s Heat Records – Driving into a DC Tornado

Cover Photo: Paul Douglas I’d Like a Window Seat Please ”I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now. From up and down and still somehow it’s cloud illusions I recall. I really don’t know clouds at all” Joni Mitchell sang. I tend to agree. Today I’m taking my first flight in 17 months, and I’ll be sitting in a window seat. 16A please. Staring out at cirrus wisps and cumulonimbus castles in the sky. It’s a relief getting lost in the sky, my cell phone mercifully turned off, flying east, into the sloppy tropical remains of Hurricane Elsa. Lousy timing...

July 7

Using Cirrus Clouds to Predict Tornadoes – 156F Land Surface Temperature Last Week in US – Warming Climate Making Heat Waves Worse

NOAA Daunting Challenges in Meteorology Remain The forecast can always be more accurate. The words we choose to communicate weather can always provide more clarity. Story-telling 101. Two reasons meteorologists get fired up every day. That, and every day is different. Patterns may be similar, but never identical. Another challenge: there are 803 cities and smaller towns in Minnesota. All weather, like politics, is local. The forecast for Willmar is (slightly) different than Litchfield. Media outlets focus on major population centers, providing the macro view. Phone apps and web sites offer a micro forecast of localized weather for specific zip...

July 2

Expanding Drought – Keeping an Eye on “Elsa” – Why Many US Cities Weren’t Engineered for Extreme Heat

On The Cusp of Broiling. A full blown heat wave continues for most of the USA into mid-July, which isn’t shocking, considering the next 1-3 weeks is the hottest of the year for most of America, on average. It still appears the core of the heat may remain just south of Minnesota, but this is a low-confidence peek over the horizon. Sunniest June for MSP Since 1988Minnesota State Climatology Office Praedictix Briefing: Issued Thursday, July 1st, 2021: Elsa Has Formed. The system we mentioned in yesterdays briefing out in the Atlantic has continued to develop over the past 24 hours,...

July 1

Unprecedented Heat Wave Eases Slightly Western USA – 121F Is New Record for Canada

CSPP Geosphere, University of Wisconsin Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. You may have noticed the sky had a muddy, hazy look yesterday. That was smoke from western fires being swept over Minnesota – something we may see more of in the weeks and months to come. Canada Sets New All-Time Heat Record of 121 Degrees Amid Unprecedented Heat Wave. Capital Weather Gang put the heat into perspective: “…Perhaps the most astonishing heat occurred Tuesday in British Columbia where the high temperature in the village of Lytton soared to 121 degrees, setting Canada’s national heat record for a third straight day....

June 30

Once In A Millennium Heat Wave Pacific Northwest and British Columbia – Spiked by a Warming Climate

Heating Up For 4th of July Festivities I’m seeing things on my weather maps I’ve never witnessed before and I’m fairly sure that’s not a good thing. Like an extraordinary “4-Sigma” heat wave for the Pacific Northwest, 4 standard deviations from the mean, or an event you might see once every 1,000 to 10,000 years. 117F in British Columbia, where satellites measured surface temperatures as high as 145F, hot enough to melt and buckle pavement. A few degrees of background warming increases the probability of historic extremes. Welcome to a new world of super-sized heat waves. Twin Cities National Weather...

Miami sunshine
June 29

Historic Heat Grips Northwest – Deepening Drought Grips West – Predicting (Rare) Inland Hurricane Intensification

8-14 Day Temperature AnomaliesNOAA CPC Warm Bias Next Week. NOAA’s climate models continue to show warmer than average temperatures next week from the west coast into the northern tier of the U.S. Medium Rare. That goes for northern tier states with 80s and 90s in mid-June. The southern two thirds of America will be well done within 2 week with 90s and 100s. Paul Douglas Estimating the Number of Excess Heat Deaths Attributable to Heat. Environmental Epidemiology has some jaw-dropping results from a 2020 study: “…We replicated the approach from a large, international study to estimate temperature-mortality associations in 297...