Tag: tropical storms

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...

Dixie Fire damage - Noah Berger, AP
September 9

NOAA Climate Models Predict Milder Autumn – Tracking Fall Warming Trends Over the Years

Septembers Tend To Be Quiet in Minnesota Ah, September. The biggest weather-related questions are: 1). When will we check out a kaleidoscope of dazzling fall color? and 2). Shorts or jackets? June brides should consider the month of September, when Mother Nature is (usually) on her best behavior. This summer we all got a front row seat to the New Normal: wilting drought, fire and smoke from Minnesota westward to the Pacific. Tornadoes in unlikely places (New Jersey) and epic floods from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast. I’m hoping we all get a nice, long break before frozen...

Earth from Space via NASA ISS
September 8

Europe Experiences Warmest Summer on Record – How Climate Warming Super-Sized “Ida” – 1 in 3 Americans Experienced a Climate Disaster This Summer

Paul Douglas In Praise Of Our Favorite Teachers We are the sum of the people we’ve met and the experiences we have had. I owe my meteorology career to weather merit badge in the Boy Scouts, a tropical storm that flooded the home I grew up in, and a series of remarkable teachers. I remember their names, faces and continuous encouragement. Mr. Batzer and Mr. Danner were science teachers who turned the weather unit into an event. Mrs. Eisenhart was an advanced placement English teacher who admonished me to use “action words”. As we start the new school year a...

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....

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 20

Drought Intensifies – Water Shortages – “Grace” Threatens Cancun and “Henri” May Brush New England

All sharing options ECMWF Predicted Rainfall by Saturday Eveningweatherbell.com A Little Rain and Trickles of Canadian Air I’d rather track rainbows and unicorns on my Doppler, but there is something to be said for acknowledging reality. Whether it’s a virus or a rapidly changing climate, ignoring data and trends is often a precursor to pain. I’m a charter member of the common-sense, keep-your- eyes-wide-open party. Because you can’t fix what you can’t measure – or acknowledge. Since April 1 parts of Minnesota are the driest on record, according to the Minnesota State Climatology Office. It took us 5 months to...

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...

May 27

Wet Snow in Late May? Will Hurricanes Further Disrupt Supply Lines – Using GPS Satellites to Alert for Quakes

3km NAM Rainfall by Friday Morningpivotalweather.com Today: The Definition of a Cold Rain May you live in interesting times, the proverb goes. I suspect it’s not a compliment. It may snow a little today, a few fat snowflakes amid chilling sheets of rain. Unusual? You ‘betcha! The record for latest flakes at MSP is May 28, 1965. The reality: snow has been reported (somewhere in Minnesota) every month of the year except July. I’m pretty sure if you go back far enough it has snowed in July, too.<p>It’s not your imagination. Weather extremes are trending more extreme over time, greater...

April 22

Oklahoma New Lightning Capital of USA – Shifting Tornado Alley Impacting Insurance Rates – Will Improved GFS Model Catch Up With ECMWF?

ECMWF vs. GFS Accuracy Since 2007. The data is the data.Graphic courtesy of blog.weather.us and meteorologist Ryan Maue. Will a New GFS Model Upgrade Close the Gap with The European Model? Here’s an excerpt of an article I wrote for Aerisweather: “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...