66 F. high yesterday in the Twin Cities.
67 F. average high on September 27.
60 F. maximum temperature on September 27, 2016.
September 27, 1983: Late summer-like temperatures arrive in Minnesota with 91 degrees at Montevideo and 90 degrees at Elbow Lake.
September 27, 1895: A ‘furious wind’ at Pleasant Mound in Blue Earth County blows down grain stacks and corn shocks.
Warm Bias Into Next Week. Date of First Frost?

Kris and Bob write: “Paul, when do you think we’ll have our first 30-degree night in October?  We’re trying to stall winterizing our travel trailer, but yet not ruin it with frozen lines.” Um.. I’d like to hear more about that travel trailer. Might come in handy as I explore lukewarm southern states in a few months? My goal is to nap in all 50 states.

Last year the immediate metro area saw the latest 32-degree low on record, November 18, a full 11 days later than the old record of November 7, 1900. 2016 brought 219 consecutive days above 32F in the Twin Cities. According to NOAA, the length of the freeze-free growing season has increased 16 days from 1951-2012. By the way,  the avearge length of the freeze-free growing season is about 139 days.
The maps show a mild bias into next week (temperatures may still top 80F the latter half of next week) but I’d wager a stale donut the MSP metro will see the first 32-degree low during the last 10 days of October.
Saturday looks like the nicer day of the weekend. The next sloppy front squeezes out rain on Sunday’s Twin Cities Marathon. I’m sorry. A few T-storms may return next week with an August-like warm front.

Late-September Heat Wave Leaves Climate Experts Stunned. Here’s an excerpt from a ThinkProgress story that caught my eye: “…There has never been a heat wave of this duration and magnitude this late in the season in Chicago,” the National Weather Service reported Tuesday evening. From Wednesday through Tuesday, for example, Chicago sweltered through “the only occurrence on record of 7+ consecutive 90°[F] days entirely within September.” Every day of the heatwave was 92°F or above, and every one set a new record high for that date…Back in the United States, the current heat wave has set records across the Midwest and East. On Monday, 92ºF was the hottest Burlington, Vermont had ever been that late in the year — by a full seven degrees, the Washington Post reported. On Sunday and Monday, Buffalo, New York saw its latest-ever consecutive 90ºF days. Records for hottest day or hottest series of days this late in the year were crushed in Minneapolis; northern Maine; Ottawa, Canada; and Green Bay, Wisconsin…”
Map credit: “Places where temperatures are projected to be within one degree of a record high Wednesday.” CREDIT: National Weather Service via WashPost/WeatherBell.com.

Freeze-Free Season in the Twin Cities. Some of this is urban heat island, some of it is the background warming we’re seeing (everywhere). NOAA explains: “The freeze-free season (growing season), lengthened by 16 days from 1951-2012. Most of this change has been due to an earlier end date of the freezing season (an earlier spring thaw). In most other parts of the Great Lakes region, the length of the freeze-free season is tied closely to the number of days below freezing. Through the late-80s and early-90s, this was not necessarily the case for Saint Paul, as the freeze-free period increased steadily despite winters with more cold days.”
Graphic credit: “The green line represents the 9-year moving average of length of the time between the last freeze of spring and the first freeze of fall, theh freeze-free period. The shaded band represents the standard deviation.”

2016: A Twin Cities Growing Season Like No Other (on record). Here’s an excerpt from the Minnesota State Climatology Office: “In 2016 the Twin Cities observed its longest frost-free season on record, tallying 219 consecutive days without a 32 degree F reading at the MSP airport. The first such reading of the 2016 fall was also by far the latest on record, and did not come until November 18th–11 days later than the old record of November 7, set in 1900. The Twin Cities “threaded” record for these purposes extends back to 1873.  Historically, roughly 90% of autumn seasons produce a 32 degree F reading in the Twin Cities by October 28, and the first freezing reading has occurred in November just eight times (including 2016). Although the autumn season has warmed rapidly in the last several decades, all of the other November first-freeze dates were in the 20th and 19th centuries, with the most recent one on November 6, 1958…”

7-Day Rainfall Potential. Some 1-2″ rainfall amounts are possible over the next week from Eau Claire and the Twin Cities to Santa Fe and Austin, Texas. As much as 3-6″ rain may soak the east coast of Florida. Most of California and the southwestern USA remains bone-dry.

Warm, Wet Bias Into First Week of October. A cold trough of pressure will bring a slap of chilly air into the northwestern third of the USA, but most of the nation east of the Rockies will experience a warm bias over the next 10 days; drier for New England, but wetter for most of the nation, based on NOAA guidance.

“Hysteria is Starting to Spread”: Puerto Rico is Devastated in the Wake of Hurricane Maria. Vox has the harrowing details: “…Hysteria is starting to spread,” Jose Sanchez Gonzalez, mayor of Manati, a town on the North shore, told the Associated Press. “The hospital is about to collapse. It’s at capacity. … We need someone to help us immediately.” But the list of woes is much longer. An untold number of homes are irreparably damaged. Infrastructure is badly damaged. People aren’t working. The storm was particularly costly for the agriculture industry: “In a matter of hours, Hurricane Maria wiped out about 80 percent of the crop value in Puerto Rico,” the New York Times reports. Even the National Weather Services Doppler weather radar station on the island has been destroyed. That’s the radar that helps meteorologist see where thunderstorms and other weather systems are moving in real time. “Not having radar does make future storms more hazardous,” says Jeff Weber, a meteorologist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research…”

Disconnected by Disaster: Photos From a Battered Puerto Rico. The Atlantic has a story that shows Maria’s impact on Puerto Rico: “Five days after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, its devastating impact is becoming clearer. Most of the U.S. territory currently has no electricity or running water, fewer than 250 of the island’s 1,600 cellphone towers are operational, and damaged ports, roads, and airports are slowing the arrival and transport of aid. Communication has been severely limited and some remote towns are only now being contacted. Jenniffer Gonzalez, the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, told the Associated Press that Hurricane Maria has set the island back decades...”

Photo credit: “Trees are reflected in the water in the Buena Vista community, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in San Juan.” Carlos Giusti / AP.

Is This the Worst Hurricane Season Ever? Here’s How it Compares. Relatives of people who died in the great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 might beg to differ. Details via TIME.com: “The deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history is also the most fatal hurricane to date. In 1900, inaccurate predictions, combined with poor warning systems, left Galveston, Texas vulnerable to a hurricane that killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people. Twenty-eight years later, an estimated 2,500 people drowned when a Category 4 hurricane caused Lake Okeechobee in Florida to overflow, deluging the surrounding area with 10-to-15-foot floods. The 10 deadliest hurricane seasons include only one from within the past 50 years: 2005, when Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed the levees in New Orleans and inundated the city, killing more than 1,000 people…”

How You Can Help Hurricane Victims in Puerto Rico. We all need to step up and help fellow Americans. PBS NewsHour explains how you can help: “…Most organizations are asking for cash, rather than supplies, so they can route help to where it’s needed most more quickly. Here are some of the largest groups with campaigns underway:

Photo credit: “Soldiers of Puerto Rico’s national guard distribute relief items to people, after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico.” Photo by REUTERS/Alvin Baez.

Puerto Rico’s Grid Needs a Complete Overhaul. CityLab has the story; here’s an excerpt: “…Even before this most recent storm, Puerto Rico’s energy infrastructure was precarious. “It was already unsustainable; it was a terrible mess,” says Judith Enck, the former EPA administrator for Region 2, which includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Even if you had a modest wind storm, people would typically lose power for days at a time.” Enck identifies dual culprits: power plants that required fossil fuels, and “rickety old transmissions.” Puerto Rico’s existing energy infrastructure relied primarily on oil or coal. And despite unreliable and unsustainable power sources, she adds, residents were paying some of the highest utility rates in the country…”

Harvey is Scaring Houston Straight on Flood Safety, But Dallas May Take Longer. The Dallas Observer has some interesting perspective on flood risk in Dallas: “…We have the same system, only more dangerous. If only one of our immense regional reservoirs fails, the toll in human lives would be staggering. As a special project in The Dallas Morning News by George Getschow revealed two years ago, a failure of the aged and decaying Lake Lewisville Dam would put 431,000 lives in immediate jeopardy. An upstream dam failure at any of the three major reservoirs that flow directly into downtown Dallas must be stacked against the old and rickety system of flood safety levees along the Trinity River through downtown. In 2009, the Corps of Engineers rated that entire levee system as “unacceptable,” the most stupidly abused term in contemporary public double-speak. What they really meant was, “no good,” “unsafe,” “won’t do the job,” “grab your water-wings and paddle as fast as you can…”

Photo credit: “Harvey taught Houston that the things it had been told before about flood safety simply were not true.” U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Zachary West.

M.I.T. Scientists Use Math to Predict the Next Great Hurricane. Yahoo News has an interesting post: “We are looking at the equations for possible states that have very high growth rates and become extreme events, but they are also consistent with data, telling us whether this state has any likelihood of occurring, or if it’s something so exotic that, yes, it will lead to an extreme event, but the probability of it occurring is basically zero,” Sapsis says. Their algorithm isn’t perfect yet, but the researchers hope that their research will help scientists around the world come up with ways to predict and even suppress the kinds of turbulence that can lead to extreme events. At the current rate we’re experiencing extreme weather events, every little bit helps…”

What Would An Entirely Flood-Proof City Look Like? The Guardian imagines how cities may be forced to reinvent themselves in the years ahead: “They call it “pave, pipe, and pump”: the mentality that has dominated urban development for over a century. Along with the explosion of the motorcar in the early 20th century came paved surfaces. Rainwater – instead of being sucked up by plants, evaporating, or filtering through the ground back to rivers and lakes – was suddenly forced to slide over pavements and roads into drains, pipes and sewers. Their maximum capacities are based on scenarios such as 10-year storms. And once they clog, the water – with nowhere else to go – simply rises. The reality of climate change and more frequent and intense downpours has exposed the hubris of this approach. As the recent floods from Bangladesh to Texas show, it’s not just the unprecedented magnitude of storms that can cause disaster: it’s urbanisation…”

File photo credit: Jordan Anderson, DoubleHorn Photography.

Hurricane-Ravaged Barbuda and Dominica Must “Build Back Better”. Reuters explains: “…In the case of Barbuda an “island that has to be built from scratch” getting urban planning right is vital to limit the potential of damage of future hurricanes, Faieta said. This includes building shelters and storage areas for food, water and seeds in safe locations, away from flood-prone areas on high-ground, she said. Improving early warning systems is also important, she said. This includes providing communities with cellphone technology to tell people where to pre-position food and seeds ahead of a hurricane and mapping flood-plain areas. In Dominica, a mountainous island, reforestation will be also important to lessen the hazard of landslides triggered by heavy rains…”

It’s Not Just Puerto Rico: 6 Other Caribbean Island Nations Are In Crisis After the Hurricanes. Vox has the story: “…Irma and Maria collapsed the infrastructure, electricity, and communications lines of the British Virgin Islands: The British Virgin Islands were beaten by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria (though Maria caused less damage than some feared). Still, the collapsed infrastructure and knocked out electricity and communications lines were enough to inspire Virgin Group founder Richard Branson to call for a Marshall Plan to help rebuild the British territory. (His own private island, Necker, was not spared by the storms.) “These hurricanes are causing unimaginable destruction,” Branson wrote on his website. A third of Dutch St. Martin’s buildings were ruined: The Island of St. Martin, which is split into two sides overseen by French and Dutch control, was also walloped by Irma. A third of the buildings on the Dutch side of the island were destroyed, and 90 percent were damaged, according to Reuters. So far, more than a dozen people died as a result of the storm, with hundreds registered as missing…”

Primal Screams, Blood and Burns: What Its Like to Survive a Lightning Strike. Here’s a clip from a jaw-dropping account at The Washington Post: “...We were struck at the lakeside, each of us channeling various amounts of the bolt that hit the tree at our back, and me and Aidan in head behind our left ears, passing through and across our bodies, until it made explosive contact with the ground,” Lovera later recounted on Facebook. “I have never been more proud of my children, who despite severe burns, punctured eardrums, and much blood, in semiconsciousness, dragged themselves to safety,” Lovera wrote earlier this month. “Aidan’s screaming brought me to consciousness, disoriented at seeing the blood clotted on the left of his head, and the blood and burns than ran down my body, and the trauma of seeing Nadia facedown up the hill from me, all of us in severe shock. My clothes had been shredded, burned and fused to parts of my body, and I could not move as I lay on my back…”

File photo: Jorge Silva, Reuters.

What Happens When a Superstorm Hits D.C.? Rolling Stone takes a look at a worst-case scenario for Washington D.C.: “…For scientists like Resio, a big concern is if a storm system in the mountains unfolds just before a major hurricane hits near the Outer Banks of North Carolina, then tracks inland, pulling a small mountain of water up the Chesapeake, then up the Potomac. This happened in the Chesapeake-Potomac Hurricane of 1933, which carried a deadly 11-foot storm surge; with Hurricane Hazel in 1954; Hurricane Connie in 1955; and Hurricane Isabel, a Category 2 storm that hit in 2003 with a nearly nine-foot surge that severed power at two of Maryland’s largest sewage treatment plants, sending 96 million gallons of sewage flowing toward D.C. “Isabel is a reminder,” wrote David L. Johnson, then assistant administrator for Weather Services, in a government assessment of the storm, “that if the impact of a Category 2 hurricane can be so extensive, then the impact of a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) could be devastating...”

Illustration credit: John Blackford for Rolling Stone. Photograph used in illustration by Ryan D. Budhu.

California Considers Following China With Combustion-Engine Car Ban. Bloomberg has the story: “The internal combustion engine’s days may be numbered in California, where officials are mulling whether a ban on sales of polluting autos is needed to achieve long-term targets for cleaner air. Governor Jerry Brown has expressed an interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Friday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. The earliest such a ban is at least a decade away, she said. Brown, one of the most outspoken elected official in the U.S. about the need for policies to combat climate change, would be replicating similar moves by China, France and the U.K…”

Minnesota Public Hearing Begin for Enbridge’s $6.5 Billion Oil Pipe Expansion. Reuters has an update: “…The bulk of the line’s U.S. portion passes through Minnesota, the last jurisdiction to review it. A decision to not grant permission would bar work for construction in state, although the company can appeal, and the current line remains operational. Enbridge spokesman Michael Barnes said: “We are eager for the hearings to get under way and the facts to be presented. This will be a detailed process, which will show the need for the replacement project.” In a surprise move this month, Minnesota’s Department of Commerce opposed the upgrade, saying refineries in the state and the upper Midwest “are not short of physical supplies of crude oil, and that they have little room to increase total crude runs...”
File photo: “Pipelines run to Enbridge Inc.’s crude oil storage tanks at their tank farm in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016. Picture taken March 24, 2016.” REUTERS/Nick Oxford.

No, We Cannot Shoot Down North Korea’s Missiles. In case you were wondering, Defense One has a sobering evaluation: “…But could we intercept before the missile climbed that high? There is almost no chance of hitting a North Korean missile on its way up unless an Aegis ship was deployed very close to the launch point, perhaps in North Korean waters. Even then, it would have to chase the missile, a race it is unlikely to win. In the only one or two minutes of warning time any system would have, the probability of a successful engagement drops close to zero. “When over Japan, they are too high to reach,” tweeted astronomer Jonathan McDowell, in between tracking the end of the Cassini mission. “You’d have to put the Aegis right off NK coast to have a chance. “It’s actually virtually impossible to shoot down a missile on the way up,” adds Gerry Doyle, deputy business editor for Asia at The New York Times. “Midcourse or terminal are the only places you have a shot...”

Photo credit: Latonja Martin In a test, SM-6 missiles fired from the guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) hit a target medium-range ballistic missile off Hawaii, Au. 29, 2017.”

Work and the Loneliness Epidemic. Harvard Business Review has a must-read article: “…There is good reason to be concerned about social connection in our current world. Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher. Additionally, the number of people who report having a close confidante in their lives has been declining over the past few decades. In the workplace, many employees — and half of CEOs — report feeling lonely in their roles...”


Oklahoma City was rated the riskiest city in the country for natural disasters because of its tornadoes and a recent spate of earthquakes that scientists have linked to the local oil industry. Next on the danger list was a shocker: Silicon Valley’s San Jose, perennially one of the nation’s hottest and priciest real estate markets. Rding out the top five were Los Angeles and Bakersfield, in California, and

10 Alarming Triggers for Alzheimer’s Disease. ActiveBeat takes a look at some of possible precursors: “Danish researchers found a link between Alzheimer’s and rosacea, the chronic inflammatory skin disorder in elderly patients. Rosacea produces higher levels of matrix metalloproteinases and antimicrobial peptide proteins that are responsible for brain-wasting disorders. The study printed in the Annals of Neurology concluded that patients with Rosacea had a 7% higher risk of Alzheimer’s. Out of those people, women with rosacea were 28% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, where men were only 16% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s...”

The Shorter You Sleep, The Shorter Your Life: The New Sleep Science. The Guardian has a sobering, but important story: “…Why, exactly, are we so sleep-deprived? What has happened over the course of the last 75 years? In 1942, less than 8% of the population was trying to survive on six hours or less sleep a night; in 2017, almost one in two people is. The reasons are seemingly obvious. “First, we electrified the night,” Walker says. “Light is a profound degrader of our sleep. Second, there is the issue of work: not only the porous borders between when you start and finish, but longer commuter times, too. No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead. And anxiety plays a part. We’re a lonelier, more depressed society. Alcohol and caffeine are more widely available. All these are the enemies of sleep...”

Cancer Warnings on Coffee May Be Coming to California. Food & Wine has the story: “Americans drink a lot of coffee: With one estimate saying the average coffee consumer slugs back about three cups per day. The good news is that, in general, science says all that joe is good for us. Recent studies have shown that coffee can cut mortality rates (multiple studies actually), reduce the risk of Multiple Sclerosis and benefit your liver. But no beverage is perfect (even too much water can kill you), and coffee producers openly admit that roasted beans contain acrylamide—a naturally occurring chemical that is also designated by the World Health Organization as “probably carcinogenic to humans…”

Wal-Mart Wants to Send People Into Your House to Stock the Fridge When You’re Not Home. I mean, what can possibly go wrong? Here’s an excerpt from The Los Angeles Times: “Delivery workers who drop off Wal-Mart groceries may soon also bring them into your kitchen and unload them into your refrigerator, even if you’re not home. The world’s largest retailer announced Friday that is testing a delivery program in Silicon Valley that would allow customers to use smart-home technology to remotely open the door for delivery workers and watch a livestream of the delivery by linking their phones with home security cameras. Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart said the in-home delivery service is aimed at busy families that don’t have time to stop at a store or unpack their groceries…”

Google Taps Levi’s to Create Interactive Jeans. I didn’t even realize I needed interactive jeans. Quartz explains: “…Conductive fabric has been around for decades, but this partnership with Google will represent one of the first major forays for the technology into the mass market. Neither company has revealed details on exactly what product they’ll make, (though jeans seem the most likely candidate), what the high-tech clothing will be able to do, or when it will be released. However, like the Apple Watch and Google Glass, the goal of connected jeans, they say, is to aid people in their daily lives, without making the technology overbearing…”

B.o.B. Has Technically Already Raised Enough Money to Prove the Earth Isn’t Flat. There are no words. Gizmodo reports: “Hip-hop star B.o.B., who last year started a minor feud with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson over the extremely resolved question of whether the Earth is flat (it is not), apparently does not consider the matter settled. Last week, B.o.B. created a GoFundMe page to prove to him that the world is, in fact, curved. His plan? “I would like to send one, if not multiple satellites as far into space as I can or into orbit as I can to find the curve,” B.o.B. said in a promotional video for the campaign on Monday. “I’m really … I’m looking for the curve...”

TODAY: Some sun, late shower? Winds: W 5-10. High: near 70
THURSDAY NIGHT: Evening shower, then clearing. Low: 48

FRIDAY: Blue sky, breezy and cooler. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 65

SATURDAY: Partly sunny, nicer day of weekend. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 48. High: 68

SUNDAY: Periods of rain. Cool and foul. Wind: S 10-20. Wake-up: 54. High: 62

MONDAY: Partly sunny, late day shower risk. Winds: SW 7-12. Wake-up: 56. High: 70

TUESDAY: Unsettled, shower or T-shower possible. Winds: E 7-12. Wake-up: 52. High: 69

WEDNESDAY: Warmer front arrives. Hints of August. Winds: S 10-20. Wake-up: 59. High: 81

Climate Stories…
Europe’s Hot, Fiery Summer Linked to Global Warming, Study Shows. InsideClimate News connects the dots: “Global warming made this summer’s record heat across Southern Europewith its wildfires and a heat wave so vicious it was nicknamed “Lucifer”10 times more likely than it would have been in the early 1900s, scientists said today in a study published by the World Weather Attribution research group. If greenhouse gas emissions aren’t cut soon, such heat waves will be the regional summer norm by 2050, the study concluded. The scientists, from universities and research institutions in Europe and the United States, said they are more certain than ever that human-caused global warming is a key driver of the extreme heat. As the average global temperature goes up, it becomes easier to pick out the climate change signal, said lead author Sarah Kew, a climate researcher with the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute...”

The Best US Cities to Avoid Effects of Climate Change, According to Report. Austin’s Statesman has the story; here are a couple of excerpts: “…According to the report, the Pacific Northwest is the best U.S. region to live to escape the negative effects of climate change, according to Shandas, who said that “their infrastructure tends to be newer and more resilient to major shocks” like heat and rising water. Austin, Texas, about 160 miles from Houston, which was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, is also among the top 13 cities — in part because of durable infrastructure as well as plans to combat carbon dioxide levels and offset emissions. Here’s the full list in no particular order: 

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Austin, Texas
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Chicago, Illinois...”

Birding: To Cope with Climate Change, Birds Need More Time. A story at Cape Cod Times caught my eye: “…As Dr. Charles “Stormy Mayo, senior scientist at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, announced in a radio interview in August, “Changes in weather occurred over millennia, thousands of years — birds, mammals, plants and insects could evolve and deal with this slow environmental change — but climate change today happens faster, in some cases less than 10 years.” Bird behavior and bird environment are becoming mismatched: much of a bird’s life cycle and behavior is closely linked to changing seasons. A mismatch occurs when birds cannot shift their behavior in time to coincide with changes in environment, when food is most available for young and adults. Bird behavior is activated by photoperiodism; plants and insects respond to temperatures. One large-scale study has showed that most birds are laying eggs at an average rate of almost seven days earlier compared to 10 years ago...”

Hurricanes: A Perfect Storm of Chance and Climate Change. Of course natural variability plays a (huge) role, but are [consistently warmer/deeper] ocean water temperatures priming the pump for more intense hurricanes? Here’s a clip from BBC News: “…Most researchers who study extreme events like hurricanes agree that climate change is most likely making the impacts of these events much worse. Rising temperatures lead to warmer air holding more moisture, which causes more intense downpours in a hurricane. The oceans have risen thanks to thermal expansion and glacier melt and this works to increase the dangers posed by storm surges. “In terms of the factors that control the genesis and the intensification of these hurricanes, a number of these point to the fact that they will undoubtedly be slightly more severe due to the extra heat content in the ocean due to the long-term warming of the climate,” said Richard Allan...”
Hurricane Maria file image from Sunday morning, September 24, 2017, courtesy of AerisWeather.