Articles by Paul Douglas

Bryce Jones, head of Flash Forest, says drones are “an incredibly practical tool to do things we could never do otherwise.” Flash Forest
October 27

Historical Odds of a White Halloween – U.S. Power Grid Increasingly Unreliable – Fox Weather Channel Details

Brian Brettschneider Low Odds of a White Halloween. Looking at the data only a 1-5% for the Twin Cities, St. Cloud and Rochester, but 10-25% of Halloweens have had an inch or more of snow on the ground October 31. This won’t be one of them. Mixed Signals. Confidence levels in the GFS 500mb position and strength are low; consecutive model runs have been contradictory. Yesterday’s solution looked milder – the latest solution shows seasonably chilly air spilling into the second week of November. Source: U.S. Energy Information AdministrationNICK MOURTOUPALAS/THE WASHINGTON POST Longer, More Frequent Outages Afflict the U.S. Power...

October 26

Bomb Cyclones and Nor’easters – CO2 Reaches New High in 2020

ECMWF predicted rainfall by Friday morningweatherbell.com Soaking Rain Likely By Wednesday With Canada cooling off rapidly, late October can bring jaw-dropping storms. California went from extreme drought to Biblical flooding in the meteorological blink of an eye: reports of mudslides, flooding, and 5-10 feet of snow in the mountains. Meanwhile a powerful Nor’easter may bring hurricane-force gusts to southern New England later today. I’m counting my blessings, atmospheric and otherwise. Mild(er) Signal Reemerges by Mid-November. We’ll see a few hardier shots of Canadian air the first week of November, but GFS model guidance suggests a return of ridging over the...

October 22

NOAA Winter Preview – Drought Outlook – Climate Risk to National Security?

This seasonal U.S. Drought Outlook map for November 2021 through January 2022 predicts persistent drought across the West, Northern Plains, and the Missouri River Basin. Drought improvement is anticipated in the Pacific Northwest, northern California, the upper Midwest, and Hawaii.NOAA Climate.gov based on NWS CPC data NOAA Winter Outlook: Drier, Warmer South, Wetter North with Return of La Nina. Here is a link to NOAA’s forecast through January, flavored by a brewing La Nina cooling phase in the Pacific Ocean: “Above-average temperatures are favored across the South and most of the eastern U.S. as La Nina climate conditions have emerged...

October 21

NOAA’s Winter Preview – 72 Hours Under a Summer Deadly Heat Dome in Oregon

Pete Schenck December – February Temperature OutlookNOAA December – February Precipitation OutlookNOAA NOAA Winter Outlook: Mild Bias for Much of USA. Signatures of a La Nina are showing up in the winter forecast with warmer than normal temperatures predicted for much of the nation, and colder than average weather forecast for the Pacific Northwest. Wetter/snowier than average weather is predicted for the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes, with drier weather for the Gulf Coast and southwestern states. Stay tuned. 7-Day QPFNOAA Mild Trend To Linger Into Early November? If you believe NOAA’s GFS model it will, in spite of a...

Flooded community from the air. Image via US Coast Guard
October 20

Infrastructure Risk From Severe Flooding – Naming Heat Waves – Implications of La Nina?

Lake Minnetonka at SunsetPaul Douglas Cool-ish. The maps still don’t look like late October for much of the USA. Prevailing winds are whisking the coldest air well north of the USA; we are just experiencing glancing blows of chilly air east of the Rockies, a pattern which may remain largely intact through the end of October. October Rainfall To DatePraedictix October Rainfall Departures. Rainfall this month is running above average for parts of central and northwestern Minnesota into the Red River Valley and Dakotas – while a deficit lingers for much of southern and eastern Minnesota and much of Wisconsin....

Wind turbines against a sunset sky, via Xcel Energy
October 15

Climate Models Hint at Mild Bias Into January – Worst California Drought Since Late 1800s

Pete Schenck Thursday Conditions, 11 am CDTmesonet.org Frigid West, Warm East – Nation Divided Between Clash of Seasons. Capital Weather Gang has a good summary of some of the crazy extremes we’re witnessing around the USA: “An active jet stream is slicing across the center of the country and bringing a wild clash of seasons, with unseasonable warmth in the East and a frigid taste of winter in the West. Parts of the Rockies and western Plains are digging out from feet of snow that fell Tuesday and Wednesday, while a renewed dose of summer spreads over the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast...

October 14

Over 2 Feet of Snow Black Hills – “Lumpy” Hurricane Data – Advantages of “Wet Bulb” Over “Heat Index” to Predict Heat Impacts

Paul Douglas Reflecting On Another Supersized Summer The outlook calls for more cold fronts in the weeks to come. A temperature recession is as inevitable as gravity as longer nights brew up increasingly nippy airmasses to our north. That said, we just had another super-sized summer season. A 6-month boating season, in Minnesota? Yep. Of course, the downside was the worst drought in decades – a big price to pay for more simmering warmth. I’m grateful for a tame autumn, to date. We could easily be butt-deep in snow. On this date in 1820 settlers at Ft. Snelling were digging...

October 13

Meteorology is a Steep Learning Curve – Insane Precipitation Extremes Across USA Last 12 Months

A Reminder why today’s rain is welcomeBrian Brettschneider The Profound Perils of Predicting Weather You can only learn so much out of a book. Exhibit A: predicting the weather. Meteorologists study calculus, physics and chemistry, but at the end of the day we learn by making mistakes. Lot’s of mistakes. It’s a painful (and public) learning curve. The technology has improved (Doppler radar, better satellites and models) and as weather has trended more extreme over time fewer people are falling victim. We have new ways to receive warnings (smartphones and social media) and our National Weather Service is arguably the...

October 12

2021: Nearly as Many Billion Dollar Disasters as Record 2020 Season – Drought Spells Trouble for Hydropower – Can Grid Handle Renewable Revolution?

Maps Still Don’t Look Like Late October. NOAA’s GFS model roughly 2 weeks out shows a massive ridge of high pressure over the western US and much of western Canada, which suggests another warming trend by the third of fourth week of October. At this rate I wouldn’t be shocked to see a few more 70s within 2 weeks or so. World Meteorological Organization Sharpens Warnings About Both Too Much and Too Little Water. Inside Climate News reports: “The global supply of fresh water is dropping by almost half an inch annually, the World Meteorological Organization warned in a report...

Lock bride in park during fall
October 7

Fall Color Factors, As Explained by Paul Douglas!

The leaves are leaving, but not before a brilliant, Technicolor explosion of color! Why do leaves even change color? As the days get shorter in the fall, there is less sunlight for photosynthesis. Plants convert carbon dioxide in the air into sugars (glucose and starch) and oxygen by using energy from the sun through the process of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll is the green pigment necessary for photosynthesis. A decrease in photosynthesis that comes with less daylight means trees stop producing chlorophyll. As the green pigment fades over time other pigments present in the leaf are revealed, producing a veritable explosion of...