TODAY: Sticky sun, severe storms later? Dew point: 68. Winds: S 15+ High: 83
SUNDAY NIGHT: Thunderstorms likely, some strong to potentially severe. Low: 66
LABOR DAY: Wet start. Slow clearing, less humid. Dew point: 54. High: 79
TUESDAY: Some sun, pop up PM T-shower possible. Wake-up: 59. High: 78
WEDNESDAY: Sunny and warmer again. Wake-up: 61. High: 82
THURSDAY: Less sun, few T-storms. Dew point: 70. Wake-up: 67. High: 85
FRIDAY: Clearing, drop in dew point. DP: 49. Wake-up: 60. High: 76
SATURDAY: Plenty of sun, pleasant. DP: 52. Wake-up: 54. High: 75

A Local Touch

It’s been said that all weather, like politics, is local. You tend to care about what’s outside your window, not weather building 90 miles up the road.

Meteorologists factor local conditions into their forecasts, like proximity to water, hills and the urban heat island. And they all think THEIR town’s weather is the hardest on Earth to predict. I ask a buddy in Phoenix at a local station “What do you do all day?” He gets indignant. “It’s harder than it looks, Paul. We get summer monsoon storms and massive haboobs, giant sandstorms that come on with little warning”. Uh huh. He also told me that management told him not to use the word “hot” in the 7-Day. Apparently it agitates the locals and scares the tourists.

“Very warm with a high of 113!”

Sticky sun gives way to a rare severe storm outbreak later today. Hail, isolated tornadoes and a possible MCS squall line may form by the dinner hour. Go jump in a lake before 3 PM but keep an eye on the western sky.

Labor Day gets off to a damp start but the sun comes out by midday with a welcome dip in dew point. Not bad for a holiday.

80s return by midweek with signs of a more September-like airmass sweeping into Minnesota by late in the week.

Swirls of Dust and Drama, Punctuating Life in the Southwest. With all apologies to my TV meteorology friend in Phoenix, haboobs are a clear and present danger, especially during the summer months. Here’s the intro to a story at The New York Times: “The best way to explain a haboob is to say it is a tsunami of sand, in the sense that there is no stopping it or outrunning it. It is a supreme spectacle. The fierce winds that precede it make the leaves on palm trees stand as if they are hands waving an effusive goodbye, the sky darkens and the world takes the color of caramel as the dust swallows everything in its path…”

Significant Severe Threat. A slight risk of severe storms extends from Minnesota and western Wisconsin into Iowa, eastern Nebraska and northeastern Kansas later today; the greatest potential for damaging hail and a few isolated tornadoes over western Iowa and eastern Nebraska, from roughly Des Moines to Omaha. I wouldn’t be surprised to see NOAA SPC elevate the risk to moderate for some of these areas.

Tornado Potential Index. Ham Weather’s proprietary TPI shows a strong risk of severe storms between 4 PM and 10 PM from Omaha and Des Moines into southeastern Minnesota and the St. Croix River Valley. Although the greatest potential for damaging winds and hail will stay south of Minnesota I wouldn’t be shocked to see a couple of smaller EF-0 or EF-1 tornadoes over east central and southeastern Minnesota by the dinner hour.

Sunday Super-Soakers. The 4 KM NAM prints out some excessive 2-5″ rainfall amounts just south of the metro area by tonight as cooler air sparks a series of squall lines, even a slight chance of an MCS (meso-convective) system flaring up later, especially south of the Minnesota River Valley where dew points are highest. 60-hour rainfall accumulation amounts courtesy of NOAA and HAMweather.

Irritable Sunday – Slow Improvement on Labor Day. Strong to severe storms are likely later today across much of the state, but a wind shift to the west/northwest pushes drier, more stable air back into town tomorrow. I still expect a wet start, but partial clearing is expected by midday with enough sun for mid to upper 70s Monday afternoon. We warm up again by midweek, before a more September-like airmass arrives by Sunday. Graphic: Weatherspark.

* lightning photo credit: AJ Pena.

Climate Stories…

Athabasca Glacier: A Tragic Vanishing Act. Here’s the introduction to a story at Skeptical Science and Critical Angle: “The Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is probably the easiest glacier in the world to access by car. It’s just a few hundred metres’ stroll from the nearest parking lot on the magnificent Icefields Parkway in Alberta. The problem is, the stroll keeps getting longer by about 10 metres every year. Since 1992, the snout of the glacier has retreated about 200 metres, requiring tourists anxious to set foot on the glacier to walk a little further. The glacier has lost about 2 km of its length since 1844 (Geovista PDF)…”

Photo credit above: “The Athabasca Glacier seen from the access trail. This point is about halfway from the parking lot and the current snout of the glacier, which is about 200 metres away. In the centre background is the ice-fall from the Columbia Icefield.  The marker shows where the glacier snout was in 1992, coincidentally the year of the Rio Earth Summit. It is just possible to make out some people walking on the glacier on the left-hand side.”

Beachfront in the Time of Climate Change. The Atlantic’s Citylab has a poignant article of what we will soon miss; here’s an excerpt: “…But this year, as everybody packs up and heads back to school in the ritual of Labor Day Weekend, there’s something sinister about being near the water. It’s an end-of-days feeling, the grim reality that, because of climate change, these places are going to be very different in 30 to 50 years. Vast acreage will be inundated. Many of the most sought-after houses on the coastline will be erased from the landscape…” (Photo credit: author Anthony Flint).

Managing Coasts Under Threat from Climate Change and Sea Level Rise. Is there an orderly, methodical way to gradually retreat from the oceans? Here’s a clip from a story at “…The scientists also acknowledged that long-term adaptation to climate change can greatly reduce impacts, but further research and evaluation is required to realize the potential of adaptation. “Many parts of the coast can, with forward planning, adapt to sea-level rise, but we need to better understand environments that will struggle to adapth, such as developing countries with large low-lying river deltas sensitive to salinization, or coral reefs and particularly small, remote islands or poorer communties,” said Dr. Brown…”

1 in 4 Republicans Say Global Warming is a Major Threat. The Daily Caller has highlights of a recent Pew research study.

As Louisiana Sinks and Sea Levels Rise, The State is Drowning. Fast. Here’s an excerpt from Huffington Post that caught my eye: “…In just 80 years, some 2,000 square miles of its coastal landscape have turned to open water, wiping places off maps, bringing the Gulf of Mexico to the back door of New Orleans and posing a lethal threat to an energy and shipping corridor vital to the nation’s economy. And it’s going to get worse, even quicker. Scientists now say one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the nation’s history is rushing toward a catastrophic conclusion over the next 50 years, so far unabated and largely unnoticed…”

Animation credit: From Bob Marshall, The Lens, Brian Jacobs and Al Shaw, ProPublica:

Why Climate Change Won’t Intensify Extreme Snowstorms. The most intense snowstorms may shift north over time, which isn’t surprising in a slowly warming world. Here’s an excerpt from Live Science and Yahoo News: “…The study revealed little change in the intensity of major snowstorms in wintry regions. In areas where winter temperatures hover near the snow “sweet spot,” the heaviest snowstorms became only eight percent less intense. The higher latitudes will shift the other way, with 10 percent more snow during extreme events, O’Gorman found. In regions where there is usually little snowfall, there will be fewer days with history-making storms…”

Does Antarctic Sea Ice Growth Negate Climate Change? Scientists Say No. Here’s a clip from a good explanation of what’s really happening at the bottom of the world from The Los Angeles Times: “…Scientists say sea ice and continental ice are probably responding to the same forces — namely, changes in ocean circulation and winds. However, they also influence each other. Sea ice helps buffer ice shelves, the floating tongues of glacial ice that dam the ice sheets and keep them from spilling irreversibly into the sea. It also keeps warm ocean waters trapped beneath a frozen lid, insulating the ice sheet from their destructive heat…”

Photo credit above: “Ice off Antarctica’s Alexander Island. This year, Antarctic sea ice has expanded its frigid reach with unprecedented speed, setting records in June and July.” (Eye Ubiquitous / UIG).