Weather

August 3

It’s Early To Be Tracking Smoke – Will “Drone Boats” Improve Hurricane Forecast Accuracy?

Paul Douglas Smoke, Heat & Drought? Welcome to Fresno! A friend living in Los Angeles told me that Californians don’t trust air they can’t see. I get it now. Remind me to never take a baby blue sky for granted again. Sadly, what happens in Ontario and Manitoba doesn’t stay in central Canada. Unusually dry weather is fanning an outbreak of blazes – drenching thunderstorms have been few and far between upwind, and that’s manifesting itself in a smoggy, smoky sky more typical of Beijing or New Delhi during the winter months. India with Lakes (and much better Scandinavian food)....

August 2

Latest Meteo Challenge: Predicting Wildfire Smoke Plumes – More Americans Moving to Drought-Stricken Counties

That’s not fog, it’s smokePaul Douglas Forecast Calls For Unpredictable Smoke Plumes It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. It’s not the virus, it’s the Canadian wildfire smoke. A few of us are wearing masks (indoors) at our Brainerd Lakes cabin, after air quality fell to hazardous levels yesterday. The EPA website advised us to ‘stay indoors’. Lovely. The weather this summer has been vaguely apocalyptic, between suffocating heat, jungle-like humidity, withering drought and jaw-dropping floods. A sign of summers to come? I hope not – but we need to be prepared for whatever an overheated, agitated Mother Nature throws...

August 2

New Residents Flood Into Drought-Stricken States – Water Levels in Salt Lake Hit Record Low – How Much Heat Can Humans Endure?

This Summer 80s Are “The New Cool Front” I’m happiest when Mother Nature isn’t trying to murder me. To be alive is to live with risk. We have no active volcanoes nearby, no earthquake faults or rising seas to worry about. The biggest temperature swings are found near the center of continents, well away from the moderating influence of ocean water. Large extremes can lead to powerful storms and fronts capable of hail, high winds and (rare) tornadoes. Drought this summer has reduced the severe storm count, but yesterday’s sauna-like airmass whipped up gangs of supercell storms along thunderstorms. Exhibit...

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,...