Tag: severe weather

Fires burn on a farm next to a forest in Sao Paulo. Photo by Jonne Roriz, Bloomberg.
October 5

Robotic Surfboards Refine Hurricane Predictions – Using AI to Pinpoint Precipitation Forecasts

WCCO Radio Producer David Josephson A Year Without a Winter? Dream On No, winter has not been canceled. Delayed by a few weeks? Yes. I vaguely remember dreaming about a year without a winter in Minnesota: 30s and 40s, no snow to speak of, just rain and ice. That scenario is unlikely through mid-century, and will hopefully never come to pass if we get serious about lowering climate-warming greenhouse gases. But we are experiencing more (unprecedented) ‘Black Swan’ weather extremes, and we don’t know all the tipping points yet. Expect the unexpected. 70s continue this week, with an outside shot...

Chairs on a beach facing the water at sunset, docks in the background. Image by Paul Douglas.
September 30

Dangerous Air: Wildfire Smoke and Dangerous PM2.5 Increasing Plains to West Coast Since 2016

A magnificent meteorological mirage…Paul Douglas Exposure To Wildfire Smoke Is A Health Risk What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, and the recent swirl of western wildfire smoke didn’t stay in California. New research shows an average of 8-10 weeks of smoke every year in Minnesota between 2016 and 2020. This past summer was Exhibit A, both eye-opening and eye- watering. A few nearby towns experienced air quality worse than Beijing or New Delhi. Which has me thinking about masks and air filtration systems at home and in our vehicles. PM2.5 pollution is especially dangerous, responsible for over 4...

Image of the world from space with wavy line in red, green, and yellow representing the polar jet stream as it passes over the Earth's surface. Image rom NASA.
September 29

Tracking “Sam” – Running Out of Hurricane Names – Is Jet Stream Shifting Poleward?

Paul Douglas Weather Entering An Unusual Holding Pattern ”Paul, what’s the jet stream up to these days?” Great question. Glad you asked. Upper level steering winds are unusually light for late September. In fact, weather models predict an odd holding pattern into early October as weather systems stall. That’s more typical in mid-July than October, by the way. Warmer air holds more water vapor, increasing the potential for heavier downpours (exhibit A was the soggy remains of Hurricane Ida, a 1-in-1,000 year flood from Philadelphia to New York City). But it’s a 1- 2 punch of wetter systems AND lighter...

dry field with irrigation system
September 3

Water Stress Increases Need for Reliable Weather Data to Power US Agriculture

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water”, wrote Loren Eiseley. As a meteorologist, that quote has stuck with me over the years. But a warmer, more volatile climate is putting Earth’s hydrological cycle on fast-forward. The wets are trending wetter, the dries are drier. We are faced with too much water – or not nearly enough. The western US is enduring a 1200-year “Megadrought”, made worse by climate change. Cities are running out of water; fires and thick palls of smoke have become a daily fixture on local weather maps; all while a 7-8% increase...

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 25

NOAA Weather Radio: Cheapest Life Insurance Around – Anatomy of a Deadly Flash Flood in Tennessee

Cheap Life Insurance: NOAA Weather RadioPaul Douglas My NOAA Weather Radio Alarmed Me During the wee hours of Tuesday morning I was momentarily convinced we were under attack. Alarms blaring, a strobe light flashing in our bedroom. After unplugging the alarm clock it dawned on me that my NOAA Weather Radio was going off – for the first time in months. I’ve never been happier to see continuous lightning and hear rolling thunder, which sounded like artillery shells going off. 1-2 inches of rain soaked much of central and southern Minnesota and Wisconsin from a “meso-convective system”; a 200- mile-wide...

August 13

Adding Custom Styles to the Tropical Cyclone Module

With Tropical Storm Fred threatening the Gulf Coast states and peak hurricane season just around the corner, now is a great time to discuss how to take your hurricane tracking to the next level by adding custom styles to the Tropical Cyclone module on the AerisWeather JavaScript SDK. The AerisWeather JavaScript SDK has a plethora of features. The InteractiveMapApp allows you to plot weather data on an interactive map easily and comes with several built-in modules which can simplify the plotting of weather data. The Tropical Cyclone Module provides users with predefined styling and functionality for plotting various tropical cyclones endpoint-related data layers.  While these default styles may suffice for most...

August 11

Tracking “Fred” – Racial Realities of Urban Heat Island – Key Takeaways of Latest UN IPCC Climate Report

Scientists React To Latest IPCC Report Every IPCC climate report becomes a little more dire with time as scientists draw a straight line from a doubling of planet-warming greenhouse gases since 1850 to an increase in weather extremes. During a WCCO Radio interview Tuesday, St. Thomas climate scientist John Abraham reacted to the report. “It’s unequivocal, humans are causing the warming. We are now seeing the impact on our weather. It is too late to avoid climate change, but what we’re trying to do now is avoid the worst of climate change” he said. The uptick in weather disasters is...

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...

Hurricane Florence
April 18

Will a New GFS Weather Model Upgrade Close the Gap with The European Model?

Image credit: NOAA Are you with Team GFS or Team ECMWF, the “European Model”? I hate to pick sides, but as a meteorologist I defer to the weather model that, consistently, is most accurate. Of course I’m rooting for the “American Model”, the GFS or Global Forecast System, to win. But here’s the thing: if you’re sanding a table or building a deck you want to use the best tools at your disposal, right? So it goes with weather forecasting. Meteorologists examine scores of models, looking for consistency, continuity, and trends – ultimately choosing a blend of model solutions that...