83 F. average high on July 19.
87 F. maximum temperature on July 19, 2016.
July 20, 1951: A tornado hits Minneapolis and Richfield, killing five people.
July 20, 1909: 10.75 inches of rain falls in 24 hours at Beaulieu in Mahnomen County. This record would stand for over 50 years. Bagley receives an estimated 10 inches.
A Tornado Like No Other: Remembering July 18, 1986
I can't believe it's been 31 years since KARE-11's news helicopter beamed back live video of a tornado carving up Springbrook Nature Center, up in Fridley. Standing in the TV studio I was just as dumbfounded as viewers watching at home.
People tell me they can still remember exactly where they were that day. Did seeing a live tornado during the 5 pm news make them more likely to head to the basement? Probably not.
The video was riveting; footage of this nearly-stationary F-2 tornado has been analyzed by atmospheric scientists around the world. It's a minor miracle nobody was injured or killed that day, and it's a reminder that close-in suburbs CAN see large, violent tornadoes.
After last night's storms I'm happy to be tracking sunshine & upper-80s today; no drama expected. More T-storms arrive on Friday, but a push of Canadian air treats us to 70s by Sunday and Monday. Enjoy this temporary relief.
Today's blog includes news of a 7-second lightning strike, tales from lightning survivors, and the 2nd warmest year to date. By the way It may feel like 110F in Washington D.C. by Saturday. Ouch.
Towering Thunderheads. I snapped this photo around 8:30 pm yesterday as a second line of T-storms blossomed over the southern metro, packing torrential rain, small hail and frequent lightning.
I Want My Mamma. It was an impressive display of cumulonimbus mammatus yesterday afternoon, on the backside anvil of the severe storms that swept south of the Twin Cities. They look like scoops of ice cream from below, but you'd definitely want to keep your distance from these hail-cooled downdrafts while flying.
Deaths of 9 in Arizona Raise Questions About Flood Warnings. Not to minimize this horrific event for the people involved, but technology only goes so far. The warning system is good, but not foolproof. If you're swimming in a creek, odds are you don't have your cell phone on you, beeping, vibrating the latest warning. There's a place for technology, paranoia and personal responsibility too. Here's an excerpt from US News: "...The storm dumped up to 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) of rain in an hour, prompting a flash flood warning from the National Weather Service. Though the service sent out a flash-flood warning over cellphone networks, service in the remote area is patchy at best. Unless they had a weather radio, the swimmers would have been unaware. Officials have said people headed to wilderness areas should check weather alerts ahead of time to determine whether it's safe. They note that it's hard to predict where rain will fall in the desert Southwest, and people should know that heavy downpours can cause flash flooding. That hasn't stopped people from saying more should be done to protect the public from flash floods. Steve Stevens, a volunteer firefighter with the nearby Water Wheel Fire and Medical District, said there needs to be a way for visitors to get flash flood alerts on their phones..."
Graphic credit: NASA. "How monthly temperatures differ from the 1951-1980 average. So far, 2017 ranks behind only 2016 for the temperature for the first six months of the year."
File photo credit: " " Leslie Jones/AP Photo.
Photo credit: "Lightning strikes inn Socorro County." Colleen Gino for El Defensor Chieftain.
File photo: Berkeley Energy Group.
A Brighter Future for Electric Cars and the Planet. Here's an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The New York Times: "...the skeptics, however, have consistently been overly pessimistic about this technology. Electric cars face challenges, yet they have caught on much faster than was though likely just a few years ago. There were 2 million of them on the world's roads last year, up 60 percent from 2015, according to the International Energy Agency. The cost of batteries, the single most expensive component of the cars, fell by more than half between 2012 and 2016, according to the Department of Energy. Tesla has indicated that it can produce batteries for about $125 per kilowatt-hour. Researchers say the cost of electric cars will be at parity with conventional vehicles when batter prices reach $100 per kilowatt-hour, which experts say is just a few years away. Electric cars are more efficient, of course, but they also require less maintenance, which should make them cheaper to own over time..."
Photo credit: "Electric vehicles plugged into a charging station in a workplace car park." Photograph: Alamy
Wind, Solar Do Not Harm Power Grid Reliability: Draft U.S. Study. Reuters has the story: "The growth of renewable power, including wind and solar, has not harmed the reliability of the U.S. electricity grid, according to a draft U.S. Department of Energy study, echoing the findings of grid operators across the country. The conclusion of the draft, dated July and viewed by Reuters, could ease fears in the renewable energy industry that the widely anticipated study would be used by President Donald Trump's administration to form policies supporting coal plants at the expense of wind and solar. "Numerous technical studies for most regions of the nation indicate that significantly higher levels of renewable energy can be integrated without any compromise of system reliability," the draft says..."
Photo credit: "Sam Mircovich.
File photo: Finding Mastery.
And Now, A Weather Report from Mars. Turns out there are some similarities to weather on Earth, according to Atlas Obscura: "...Pla-García works at the Spanish National Center of Astrobiology, which is associated with NASA. Now, along with other two researchers, he has decided to publish a periodical weather report in layman terms. The other two weathermen are Antonio Molina, who inputs geological data, and Javier Gomez Elvira, who processes the data for mainstream consumption. To make the weather report more appealing to the general public, the team has made a point of including comparisons with Earthly weathehr phenomena. In their first report, released on March 15, they compared the Gale Crater winds with the Chinook air streams in the Rocky Mountas of North America. Their second report, released on July 11, discusses the strong whirlwinds known as Dust Devils..."
Image credit: "A towering dust devil in the late-spring afternoon, Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars." ASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
Netflix Takes on Hollywood. Will people still be going to movie theaters in 5 years? I hope so, but some days I'm not so sure. Here's an excerpt from The Washington Post: "...There is a war in Hollywood right now and the war is the Netflix model versus the Hollywood model," said Ross Gerber, president and chief executive of Gerber Kawasaki, a wealth and investment management firm based in Santa Monica. Over the past decade movie attendance has trended downward, just as ticket prices have steadily increased, according to data compiled by Box Office Mojo. And opening night for many movies outside the blockbuster genre has lost some of its luster, analysts say. "Nobody is going to the movies," Gerber said. "If it's not a tent-pole movie, people don’t care anymore." Gerber envisions a new model where Netflix customers are granted access to newly released movies, perhaps for a onetime $40 fee, or as part of a monthly premium subscription..."
Photo credit: "Raising children with Williams syndrome can pose some unique challenges, such as setting boundaries with strangers." Photo by Joel Sartore, National Geographihc Creative.
TODAY: Flood Watch early as storms taper. Clearing skies, drying out. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 88
THURSDAY NIGHT: Clouds increase. Low: 71
FRIDAY: Unsettled, few T-storms nearby. Winds: SE 7-12. High: 82
SATURDAY: Partly sunny, late-day T-storm? Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 69. High: 88
SUNDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, less humid. Winds: N 7-12. Wake-up: 66. High: 77
MONDAY: More sun, very pleasant. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 57. High: near 80
TUESDAY: Clouds increase, few T-storms. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 62. High: 83
WEDNESDAY: More showers and T-storms possible. Winds: NW 8-13. Wake-up: 65. High: 82
Climate Change Will Bring Coastal Flooding. Here's a snippet of an Op-Ed from the Editorial Board at San Antonio's Express-News: "...This fits a broader prediction for America’s coasts from the Union of Concerned Scientists. At present, about 90 communities across America face such chronic flooding. But that will nearly double to 170 communities by 2035 under moderate projections for sea level rise. By 2060, it will jump to 270 coastal communities. And by 2100, nearly 500 coastal communities. A more extreme projection says 670 coastal communities will face chronic flooding by the end of the century. These projections can be useful for planning purposes. How close to the coast should communities build hospitals, refineries, schools? What land can communities set aside to ease flooding? What actions should be taken to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate warming to limit the toll a warmer world will take on future generations? Like other reports on climate change, this coastal flooding report warns of an outsized impact on the poor as well as the business and security concerns that come with a warming world..."
File photo: Walt Jennings, FEMA.
Foley: “The expansion north is certainly associated with climate change.”
And it’s not just rising temperatures. Changes in precipitation, humidity, and vegetation can also affect tick populations and the transmission of Lyme disease..."
Photo credit: "
In a study published on July 17 in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers at Princeton University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory used satellite data from 2003-2015 to resolve some of the lingering uncertainty on prior dust activity models. Their research projects that “climate change will increase dust activity in the southern Great Plains from spring to fall in the late half of the twenty-first century – largely due to reduced precipitation, enhanced land surface bareness, and increased surface wind speed.” In other words, deforestation and the mega-droughts which are increasingly becoming a feature of our changing climate are likely to create conditions ideal for the return of massive dust storms..."
File photo: "A dust storm in April 1935 about to give Stratford, Texas a very bad day." Photo Courtesy NOAA
Great Plains to See More Dust Storms in Second Half of the 21st Century. UPI has more perspective on the study referenced above: "Climate change will bring more dust storms to the Great Plains in the latter half of the 21st century, according to the latest prediction models. According to new models developed by climate scientists at Princeton University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, already dry and dusty regions, like southwestern deserts and the central plains, will become drier and dustier in the second half of the 21st century. The increase in dry, dusty conditions in the southern parts of the Great Plains is expected to encourage an increase in the prevalence of dust storms. Global warming is expected to bring warmer temperatures to most of the globe, but the impacts of rising greenhouse gas concentrations on precipitation is more nuanced and geographically dependent. Some places are likely to experience more rain, while other places will get drier..."
File image: PBS.
Photo credit: "A display installed along the shore of Richardson Bay in Mill Valley shows sea level projections." (Alan Dep/Marin Independent Journal).
Photo credit: Associated Press.
Curbelo's Gang of Moderate Republicans Defeats Anti-Climate Change Legislation. Grandpa, what's a moderate Republican? Good for Rep. Curbelo - gives me renewed hope for a sane, science-centric future. Here's a clip from Miami Herald: "Carlos Curbelo touts himself as a rare Republican in Washington willing to criticize Donald Trump and conservative members of his own party. And after months of talk and lots of tweeting, Curbelo’s effort to build a bloc of moderate Republicans capable of swaying anti-climate-change legislation appears to have paid off. Curbelo’s Climate Solutions Caucus, a group of 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats who are concerned about the impacts of climate change, voted en masse on Thursday against a proposal to nix a Defense Department report on the threats posed by climate change to military installations. “A bipartisan majority of Members are on the record saying climate change and sea level rise must be taken into account when planning for our national defense,” Curbelo said in a statement. “With military bases like Naval Air Station Key West extremely vulnerable to sea level rise, this vote was a huge win for our coastal military communities..."