Tag: Flooding

October 7

Fall On Hold For Much of USA – Disaster Fatigue – Calculating Your Home’s Flood Risk

Weather BlissPaul Douglas Weather Models Are Only A First Guess My father still thinks I forecast weather by looking out a west-facing window. I have nothing against using an “Amish Doppler” to gauge the current state of the clouds and sky. To be able to predict the future one needs to first grasp the present. Meteorologists have dozens of weather models to choose from. Which one works best in a pattern like this? What are the trends in models (wetter, drier, warmer, etc?). George Box said “all models are wrong, but some are useful”. They are merely a guide, not...

High Water sign in flooded street, courtesy of NOAA
September 3

Ida’s Legacy: Historic Flood and Kansas-Size Tornadoes Paralyze Northeastern US

MN Drought Eases Slightly From Last WeekUS Drought Monitor Weather Extremes Trending More Extreme I’ve been tracking weather systems for 45 years, but nothing has prepared me for 2021’s dueling weather disasters. Our weather models have consistently underestimated the intensity of drought, fires and eastern floods. Why? Climate-warming greenhouse gases have doubled since preindustrial times, and these man-made gases are flavoring all weather now. Are too many people living in vulnerable areas? Yes. But Wednesday’s 1-in-500 year flooding from Philly to New York City and Texas-size tornadoes in New Jersey are more symptoms of our new reality. Flashes of Lukewarm....

Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier - Jeremy Harbeck, NASA
September 2

Top-10 Hottest Summers – Weather Disasters 4-5X More Common Than 1970s – 200 Year Flood and Kansas-Sized Tornadoes Reported from Philadelphia to New York City Suburbs

Climate Central 2021 Summer Heat Records. Climate Central has a good overview of a very hot summer for much of the USA: “Summer 2021 was definitely a “Summer of the Extremes” as floods, fires, drought, intense heat, and powerful storms ripped across the U.S. and the globe. Record or near-record heat baked the U.S. this summer, especially the Pacific Northwest. Climate Central conducted its own analysis on local heat records and found that 38% (538) of 1396 locations had one of their 10 hottest summers this year. Heat wasn’t the only extreme weather event this summer. Across the nation, many...

storm over water via unsplash
August 31

Louisiana Left Reeling from “Ida” – Hurricane Strength Was No Surprise to Forecasters – Mandatory Fire Evacuations in Tahoe Basin

Paul Douglas Why September May Offer Year’s Best Weather ”September tries its best to have us forget summer” wrote English philosopher Bernard Williams. I love all the seasons (and the fact that Minnesota HAS 4 seasons) but September is my favorite month of the year. Days are still lukewarm, lakes warm enough for one or two more dips. Severe storms are rare as the noisy blur of summer fades into comfortable days with cotton-ball cumulus and low humidity. That is all fine and good but Minnesota is still too dry and dusty. According to the local DNR “As of this...

August 26

Flood Potential in the Middle of a Drought – USA’s Water Haves and Have-Nots?

Twin Cities National Weather Service A Risk of Flash Floods During a Drought ”Papa, tell me the story about the year we had floods during a drought?” Well Jordan, the year was 2021, and it was bone-dry. Parts of Minnesota were on fire. Farmer were worried, even the trees were stressed and losing their leaves early. And yes, we went from drought to flood in the meteorological blink of an eye. Strange? You bet. But I’ve seen rainbows after a tornado, rain the middle of a blizzard. Nothing surprises me much anymore. Excessive Rainfall/Flooding PotentialNOAA Nothing to See Here –...

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 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 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,...