– 0.4 F. temperatures for May are running slightly below average in the Twin Cities.

73 F. maximum temperature in the Twin Cities Sunday.
73 F. average high on May 28.
68 F. high on May 28, 2016.

May 29, 1949: An intense downpour dumps over 7 inches of rain at Thief River Falls.
May 29, 1947: Extremely late season snow falls in southern Minnesota, northern Iowa, and southern Wisconsin. Worthington, MN picks up an inch, while some places in southern Wisconsin receive up to 6 inches.

Weather Perspective on a Showery Memorial Day

On the day we honor fallen heroes who sacrificed their tomorrows so we can have our tomorrows – it seems a bit unseemly to be griping about the state of the atmosphere overhead.

When agitated friends or family whimper about a few instability showers and a cool wind, gently remind them the rain fills our lakes and nurtures the crops that sustain us. Without these “irritating” showers and T- storms Minnesota would have the climate of New Mexico. Precious little would grow here.

Yes, the timing could be better, but I’m relieved not to be tracking flurries or angry-looking squall lines on Doppler.

An unusually cold whirlpool of air rotating overhead will spark a few hours of showers today with temperatures mostly in the 50s and a northwest wind gusting to 20 at times. Other than that it should be lovely.

Skies clear by midweek with a warming trend; models hint at 80F and strong to severe T-storms late Friday and Saturday. It’s early, but Sunday may be the drier, sunnier day next weekend.

This is May 29? Not one person has complained about the humidity yet. That’s remarkable.

Slight Severe Storm Risk Today. An advancing cool front may ignite a few severe storms today from Georgia into the Carolinas. The primary risk is large hail, but a few smaller, isolated tornadoes can’t be ruled out.

7-Day Rainfall Potential. I’m starting to think the USA will see as much flash flooding as it did in 2016, which set a record for the greatest number of flooding disasters. NOAA models print out 3-5″+ rainfall amounts from Texas into the Mid South by Monday, June 5; heavy amounts for New England as well.

Sloppy Status Quo. Puddles prevail east of the Rockies, the result of a blocking/holding pattern that will result in a wet bias in the coming days. Minnesota and the Upper Midwest experience a cool wind and showers today, but conditions improve by midweek. Another coastal storm roughs up the Mid Atlantic and New England today as Texas and the Gulf Coast brace for more waves of heavy showers and T-storms pushing out of the Gulf of Mexico. 84 Hour NAM Future Radar Product: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.

Cool Bias Lingers Upper Midwest. Canadian air pushes unusually far south for late May and early June, although western warmth is forecast to reach the central USA by late week. Temperature anomalies above courtesy of Tropicaltidbits.com.

Drive-By Summer. Take your time summer warmth! We’ll be patient as long as we can, but a collective primal scream is brewing. Today will be cooler than Sunday and Tuesday will feel more like October, before another rebound by late week. Thursday and Friday will actually feel like early June. Twin Cities ECMWF numbers: WeatherBell.

2-Week Outlook: Western Ridging. If, in fact, a ridge does favor the western USA it would mean unusually hot, sunny weather from Seattle to San Diego, but cooler than average weather from the northern Rockies into the Great Lakes and New England. At this point I’ll be amazed if meteorological summer is a sizzler from the Upper Midwest to the Mid Atlantic – I see a persistent cool bias, at least into June.

Looming Sunset of Flood Insurance Deal Stirs Angst in Florida, Congress. Because right now U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing federal flood insurance, making it more affordable to live along the coast. Here’s an excerpt from The Naples Daily News: “…Congress is considering dramatic changes to the NFIP, which has a $25 billion debt that its director says cannot be repaid. But disagreements remain over how much homeowners should be required to pay for flood insurance to make the program more solvent. The program, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has traditionally charged premiums at about 40 to 45 percent of their full cost, with taxpayers subsidizing the rest. If lawmakers can’t reach an agreement, a lapse in FEMA’s legal authority to write new policies could disrupt real estate sales in flood-prone areas around the country…”

Miami file photo: Lynne Sladky, AP.

This Is What It’s Like To Be Struck by Lightning. 9 out of 10 people struck survive, but many have lifelong ailments. A story at CNN.com caught my eye: “…Lightning is responsible for more than 4,000 deaths worldwide annually, though of every ten people hit, nine survive. But victims can suffer a variety of short- and long-term effects: cardiac arrest, confusion, seizures, deafness, headaches, memory deficits, personality changes and chronic pain, among others. Changes in personality and mood can strain families and marriages, sometimes to breaking point. Cooper likes to use the analogy that lightning rewires the brain in much the same way that an electrical shock can scramble a computer — the exterior appears unharmed, but the software within that controls its functioning is damaged…”

File image: Jorge Silva, Reuters.

NOAA Forecasts Busy Hurricane Season for Atlantic. Will proposed cuts to hurricane weather models come to pass – implications for the state of meteorology and what may be a busy year in the Atlantic? Here’s an excerpt from Climate Central: “…Many of the improvements to those models have come as part of a concerted effort called the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program. That program was established by NOAA in 2009, in part as a response to the pummeling the U.S. received from a number of hurricanes during the early years of that decade and the relative lack of progress made in improving forecasts up to that point. Trump’s 2018 budget request currently includes a $5 million reduction in funding “to slow the transition of advanced modeling research into operations for improved warnings and forecasts” including the HFIP. That budget provision doesn’t jibe with bipartisan-supported Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, which the President signed into law last month and which states that “NOAA must plan and maintain a project to improve hurricane forecasting.” “I don’t think Congress will take his proposal seriously at all . . . so it can probably be ignored in favor of the legislation that has actually passed,” Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, said in an email. “But supposing Congress did pass his budget as-is, yes, it would be devastating to weather prediction across the board, including hurricanes...”


Remembering the Great St. Louis Tornado of 1896. NOAA NCEI takes us back to May 27, 1896: “…In less than half an hour, the tornado carved a three-mile-wide path of destruction across St. Louis. It would most likely be rated as an EF4 today, with winds estimated between 168 and 199 mph. While it was just one of nearly 40 tornadoes to touch down in the central and southern parts of the country between May 15 and May 28, the Great St. Louis Tornado of 1896 still remains the third deadliest tornado in the United StatesThis single tornado is estimated to have killed at least 255 people and injured another thousand. According to the May 29, 1896, edition of the Chicago Tribune (link is external), “In all probability the exact number of those whose lives were crushed out by falling walls or who met their fate under the waters of the raging Mississippi will never be known...”

Photo credit: NOAA Photo Library. “When it was dedicated in 1874, the Eads Bridge in St. Louis was the first to be constructed of true steel and was touted as being “tornado-proof.” For two decades, the bridge had resisted several storms and floods, bolstering its indestructible reputation. But, on May 27, 1896, a fearsome tornado wreaked havoc across St. Louis that not even the mighty bridge could completely withstand.”

Globally, flooding is the most common disaster risk, accounting for nearly half of all weather-related disasters during the past 20 years.  Exposure and vulnerability to flood risks are on the rise: the proportion of the world population living in flood-prone river basins has increased about 114 percent and population exposed to coastal areas has grown 192 percent during the last decade.
“We can’t afford to continue to invest in short term solutions that don’t take into account how weather patterns, sea levels and land use are changing the nature and severity of flooding,” said Anita van Breda, World Wildlife Fund’s senior director of environment and disaster. “The traditional approaches we’ve used to manage flooding in the past – like sea walls and levees – in most cases, won’t work in isolation for the types of floods we’re likely to experience in the future.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-harnessing-nature.html#jCp

Globally, flooding is the most common disaster risk, accounting for nearly half of all weather-related disasters during the past 20 years.  Exposure and vulnerability to flood risks are on the rise: the proportion of the world population living in flood-prone river basins has increased about 114 percent and population exposed to coastal areas has grown 192 percent during the last decade.
“We can’t afford to continue to invest in short term solutions that don’t take into account how weather patterns, sea levels and land use are changing the nature and severity of flooding,” said Anita van Breda, World Wildlife Fund’s senior director of environment and disaster. “The traditional approaches we’ve used to manage flooding in the past – like sea walls and levees – in most cases, won’t work in isolation for the types of floods we’re likely to experience in the future.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-harnessing-nature.html#jCp

Empire Builder Train-Tornado of May 27, 1931. Agweek takes a look at what happens when an EF-3 tornado encounters a train: “…Around 4:30 that afternoon when The Empire Builder, the transcontinental passenger train that originated in Seattle and was heading toward Chicago, was actually struck by a tornado in Clay county. The train had just left the Fargo station and was near Sabin as severe thunderstorms were moving through the region. The train first experienced heavy rain and gusty wind before the tornado (which has been estimated to be an F3 with wind between 136 and 165 mph) struck it broadside and lifted five of the passenger coaches from the rails…”
Image credit here: “Tornado meet The Empire Builder May 1931 The Empire Builder, bound from Seattle to Chicago, was struck by a tornado, May 27, 1931. Only the 136-ton locomotive remained on the track.” Courtesy, Historic NWS Collection, NOAA

Fractal – 4K StormLapse. This may be the most amazing time-lapse weather video I’ve ever seen, anytime – anywhere. You will be hypnotized by the imagery at Vimeo, courtesy of Chad Cowan: “Big whirls have little whirls that feed on their velocity, and little whirls have lesser whirls, and so on to viscosity.” – Meteorologist Lewis Fry Richardson (“Weather Prediction by Numerical Process.” Cambridge University Press, 1922) This quote sums up perfectly what I’ve come to realize about weather and storms over the past 10 years of studying, forecasting and chasing them, and the part that I find most fascinating. On each scale level from synoptic scale, which covers areas the size of multiple states, all the way down to micro scale, which could be an area as small as your backyard, the fluid which we call air abides by the same universal physical laws of nature and thus acts in very similar manner and patterns…”

In Coal-Friendly Wyoming, Company Will Offer Free Training To Wind Turbine Workers. Yale E360 has the story: “An American affiliate of a leading Chinese wind turbine manufacturer will offer laid-off coal miners and other workers free training to become wind turbine technicians in Wyoming’s expanding wind-energy sector. Goldwind Americas, which will be supplying as many as 850 turbines to a major wind-energy facility in Carbon County, Wyoming, said its training program will begin this summer and could eventually prepare as many as 200 people to work at the wind farm. Wyoming produces more coal than any other state in the U.S. and has even imposed a tax on wind-energy generation, yet despite that the state’s wind power sector is growing because of the region’s high winds…”

Wall Street to CEOs: Disrupt Your Industry, Or Else. Innovate, reinvent, or fade away (rapidly). Here’s an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: “…To make things worse for established players, investors aren’t comparing them to their traditional rivals, but to quick-moving Silicon Valley startups that are poised to make them irrelevant. For pretty much any industry you can name—not just autos but manufacturing, logistics, finance, media and of course retail—there are tech startups purporting to have better ideas, ones they say they don’t need decades to make into realities. It isn’t as if all these industries will see massive CEO turnover, but it does mean established companies need to consider drastic measures. They must be willing to tell their stakeholders they may have to lose money and cannibalize existing products and services, while scaling up new technologies and methods…”

Image credit: ChrisRiddell.com.

Lobsterman Shares His Tale of 12 Hours Floating On His Boots. That’s thinking on your feet. Literally. WTOP.com has the amazing story: “The darkest moment of John Aldridge’s 12 terrifying hours of floating alone in the Atlantic Ocean came in the first moments after he was flung off his lobster boat. “You hit the water, you’re in such disbelief,” he recalls. “Nobody in the world knows you’re missing. Their life is happening right now, but your life is done! Right now, in the middle of the ocean, today’s the day you’re going to die.” Not only did Aldridge survive — by pulling a James Bond-like maneuver to turn his boots into flotation aids — but, nearly four years later, he’s still working in the profession that put him in so much danger. And he’s retelling the remarkable tale in a book just released…”

Photo credit: “In This May 19, 2017 photo, John Aldridge poses in Montauck, N.Y. with the boots that helped keep him afloat for 12 hours after falling off his lobster boat in the summer of 2013. Nearly 4 years later, he’s still working in the profession that put him in so much danger. And he’s retelling the remarkable tale in a book released the week of May 29, 2017.” AP Photo/Frank Eltman.

Florida’s Siesta Beach – Best Public Beach in the USA? The Washington Post reports: “Everyone has their own Memorial Day tradition — grilling or boating or visiting monuments honoring our country’s fallen soldiers. For Dr. Beach, the official start of summer means the release of his annual list of the Top 10 Beaches in America. A win is the Nobel Prize in sand. This year’s laureate: Siesta Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast. “Powder white sand so soft and so white — almost 100 percent pure quartz crystal! Water is emerald green, clean and clear,” Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman wrote of his No. 1 pick. “Very safe beach that is hundreds of yards wide, perfect for families.” Since 1991, the Florida International University professor has compiled the best sandcastle-building and wave-riding spots in the nation...”

Photo credit: “Siesta Beach on Siesta Key, off the coast of Sarasota, Fla., snags the No. 1 spot on Dr. Beach’s annual Top 10.” (Chris O’Meara/AP).

* Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beach List is here.

MEMORIAL DAY: Windy, cool and showery. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 61

MONDAY NIGHT: Showers taper. Low: 49

TUESDAY: Scrappy clouds, another shower or sprinkle. Winds: NW 10-15. High: 59

WEDNESDAY: Blue sky, feels like May again. Winds: W 8-13. Wake-up: 47. High: 71

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, more humidity. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 55. High: 78

FRIDAY: Some sun, risk of strong T-storms late. Winds: SE 8-13. Wake-up: 61. High: 81

SATURDAY: Best chance of T-storms AM hours. Winds: NE 10-15. Wake-up: 60. High: 72

SUNDAY: Partly sunny, drier day of weekend. Winds: NE 8-13. Wake-up: 53. High: 73

Climate Stories…

What Happens If The U.S. Withdraws From the Paris Climate Change Agreement. CBS News reports: “…Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold. Calculations suggest it could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year. When it adds up year after year, scientists said that is enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.  “If we lag, the noose tightens,” said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change...”

100 Practical Ways to Reverse Climate Change. I picked up a copy of the book – it’s a worthy read and it underscores the truth: we don’t need a miracle energy source. We already have the technology to keep the lights and world economies powered up without fossil fuels. It will be a transition, but one we have to make to avoid a worst case scenario. Here’s an excerpt from National Geographic: “At a time when the science of global warming is under attack and many people complain of climate change fatigue, some cheering news occurred last month: A book about climate change became a New York Times bestseller in its first week of publication. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, edited by environmentalist Paul Hawken, is the first environmental book to make such a splashy debut since Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe in 2006. Kolbert’s book warned of cataclysm; Hawken’s tries to prevent it…”

Photo credit: “Buildings with green roofs, like this one in Stuttgart, Germany, don’t use as much energy as standard buildings and emit fewer greenhouse gasses.” Photo by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, National Geographic Creative.

Fossil Fuel Associations Scramble to Quit Kids Climate Lawsuit Before Discovery Deadline. Keep an eye on this suit; details via EcoWatch: “In an unusual procedural move, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers filed motions Thursday requesting the court’s permission to withdraw from the Juliana v. US climate lawsuit, brought by 21 young people. The associations are following the lead of the National Association of Manufacturers, who filed a similar motion to withdraw on May 22. Now, all three trade association intervenor defendants have filed motions to withdraw from the case, evading last night’s discovery deadline. These motions are especially unusual after numerous legal efforts have tried to get a federal court in Oregon to throw out the lawsuit. For any defendant to leave the litigation, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin must grant permission…”

Photo credit: “Banner created by Alliance for Climate Education.”

What the U.S. Could Learn From the Dutch on Climate Change. We’re already taking advantage of their sea walls and levee technology as seas continue to rise and nuisance flooding increases. But there are other lessons, according to MIT Technology Review: “Earlier this month, the Netherlands completed one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world, as an accelerating wind boom finally helps the country make real progress on its renewable energy goals. The 600-megawatt Gemini wind park, operating 150 turbines in the North Sea, will serve some 1.5 million citizens. Several other major offshore wind farms are under development as well, which will collectively push total wind capacity to nearly 4.5 gigawatts by 2023 (see “The Wind Fuels the North Sea’s Next Energy Boom”). “As a country we were heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and our way to renewables has been bumpy,” Sharon Dijksma, the nation’s minister for the environment, told MIT Technology Review this week. “So this government decided that we needed to step up the pace…”

Photo credit: “The Gemini wind farm includes 150 turbines in the North Sea.”

Climate Change is Keeping Americans Awake at Night. Literally. The warming signal is even more pronounced at night, and there may be implications for quantity/quality of sleep, according to a Washington Post story: “…The CDC randomly dials Americans to inquire about where they live, their income, age, how much they drink, if they wear seat belts, if they were sunburned recently and other public health questions. Questioners also ask how many nights of insufficient sleep a person had in the past month. The study authors meshed these responses with weather station records to determine if respondents may have been exposed to unusual nighttime temperatures. Equipped with this information, the researchers calculated that every nocturnal temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius produced an additional three nights of restless sleep per 100 people per month. Scaled across the United States, the authors wrote that this 1 degree bump translated to about “110 million extra nights of insufficient sleep” each year…” (File photo: iStock)

So Much Water Pulsed Through a Melting Glacier That It Warped the Earth’s Crust. Details via The Washington Post: “NASA scientists detected a pulse of melting  ice and water traveling through a major glacier in Greenland that was so big that it warped the solid Earth — a surge equivalent in mass to 18,000 Empire State Buildings. The pulse — which occurred during the 2012 record melt year — traveled nearly 15 miles through the Rink Glacier in western Greenland over four months before reaching the sea, the researchers said. “It’s a gigantic mass,” said Eric Larour, one of the study’s authors and a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “It is able to bend the bedrock around it.” Such a “wave” has never before been detected in a Greenland or Antarctic glacier…”

Photo credit: “Rink Glacier on Greenland’s west coast.” (NASA/John Sonntag).