87 F. high in the Twin Cities Friday, the warmest day yet in 2014.
74 F. average high on May 30.
77 F. high on May 30, 2013.

-1.5 F. As of May 29 Twin Cities temperatures for May are running 1.5 F. cooler than average for the month.

May 30 in Minnesota Weather History. Source: Twin Cities NWS:

1934: Extreme heat in Minnesota with 107 in St. Paul and 106 in Minneapolis. Rush City reached 110. There were numerous cases of heat ailments among persons and livestock.

1932: Heat wave with 108 at Campbell, Fairmont, Faribault, and New Ulm.

“…This is scary, in fact a “War on America” … from deep within America’s collective conscience. Science denialism is spreading wide and deep, sabotaging our ability to intelligently plan the defense of our nation … by tying the hands of the Pentagon…” – from an Op-Ed by a marine veteran and Marketwatch columnist; details below. File photo: AP.

Thunder-wear Alert

Weather, as in life, isn’t like a DVR. Or VCR for readers who grew up fumbling with Betamax and VHS tapes. You can’t fast-forward through the rough patches.

But for every gray, mop-bucket sky, washed out cabin adventure or messy, white-knuckle commute, there are just as many serene, blue-sky, postcard perfect days. It should all balance out, at least in theory.

I love technology as much as the next guy, but for all our ingenious inventions created to insulate ourselves from Nature, we’re still helpless to control the forces playing out overhead. We are all bewildered spectators. For a species that likes to thump its chest in conquest I find this somewhat reassuring.

Which is a long, cumbersome way of saying we’re in a wet pattern that shows no sign of letting up anytime soon. A stalled frontal boundary fires off swarms of T-storms from later today into Monday. Some 1-2 inch rainfall amounts are likely; another storm soaks us again next Wednesday & Thursday.
Note to self: invest in a floating dock. Forget tomatoes. Plant rice.

In the blog below: Mark Seeley reports that, in spite of cool and soggy weather pushing back spring planting season, nearly all the corn is now in the ground.

Super Soakers. NOAA’s guidance shows some 2-4″ rainfall amounts over the next 7 days across the Upper Midwest and central and northern Plains states, over 1″ of rain from Helena, Montana to Chicago and Louisville. We’re still watching potential tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of next week.

84 Hour Future Radar. NOAA NCEP guidance from the 12km NAM model shows waves of heavy showers and T-storms training along a frontal boundary over the Upper Midwest, where flash flooding can’t be ruled out in some communities from today into Monday. An impressive storm in the North Atlantic keeps New England cool and dry thru the weekend, while pop-up T-storms continue over the south; the west still sunny, hot and dry.

Tropical Possibilities. The models are far from being in perfect agreement/alignment, but GFS guidance continues to suggest the formation of a tropical wave, depression or even a weak tropical storm (“Arthur”?) in the eastern Gulf of Mexico next weekend. A Florida soaking may be 6-8 days away. Source: NOAA.

Late Start to Planting Season. Here’s a clip from the latest installment of Dr. Mark Seeley’s WeatherTalk Newsletter: “…There were numerous reports of hail during the month, and two tornadoes were reported on May 8th, near St James and Madelia. Straight line wind damage occurred near Waseca, Montgomery, and Red Wing damaging buildings, trees, and powerlines. This cool, wet spring produced a late planting season for farmers, but nearly all of the state corn acreage was planted by May 30, and over half of the soybean acreage was planted as well. Southern Minnesota farmers began harvesting alfalfa the last week of the month. Moderate drought remained in the extreme southwestern counties of the state…”

Probability of a Washout. NOAA NDFD data shows the highest probability of rain in dark green into Sunday evening; potentially strong T-storms from the Dakotas into Minnesota and Wisconsin. More garden-variety instability showers and T-showers are likely to sprout along the Gulf Coast.

Drought Yields Only Desparation. The Los Angeles Times has a look at how historic drought is already impacting California, especially farmers and migrant workers; here’s a clip: “…Each day more families are leaving for Salinas, Arizona, Washington — anywhere they heard there were jobs. Even in years when rain falls and the Sierra mountains hold a snowpack that will water almonds and onions, cattle and cantaloupes, Huron’s population swells and withers with the season. These days in Huron — and Mendota and Wasco and Firebagh and all the other farmworker communities on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley — even the permanent populations are packing up...”

* the latest U.S. Drought Monitor for the western USA is here.

How To Read The Mind of a Wildfire. An article at The Atlantic has some details about how tree rings and computer models are being tapped to gain a greater understanding of wildfires; here’s a clip: “…When fires do burn, they’re more destructive, often killing the big trees along with the small. “What’s being released in a fire is the accumulated capital stored up through years of photosynthesis,” Falk says. “You’re not destroying the carbon, hydrogen, or oxygen molecules. They’re just being liberated.” And on a tremendous scale: even a relatively small fire of a couple hundred acres can pump out energy equivalent to the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and can push a mushroom cloud of hot air, ash, and soot miles into the sky...”

Animation credit above: “A FIRETEC animation of a 1996 blaze in Malibu.” (icess.ucsb.edu)

Want To Spot The Next Bubble? Look At Where Harvard Grads Work. Here’s a link to an interesting story at The Washington Post; an excerpt: “…That’s why the more Harvard grads that head for Wall Street, the worse a sign it is for markets. It usually means that the irrational exuberance is about to give way to rational panic. The good news now, though, is that Harvard kids aren’t flocking back to Wall Street in anywhere near the numbers that they did before the financial crisis. As you can see in the chart below from the Harvard Crimson, “only” 31 percent of seniors will be working in finance or consulting next year; down from a high of 47 percent in 2007…”

Graphic credit above: Harvard Crimson.

Scientists from CERN and MIT Launch Encrypted E-Mail Service. If you are sufficiently and understandably paranoid, between Chinese hackers, spammers and the NSA looking over your shoulder, you might want to check out ProtonMail. Gizmag has more details: “The privacy of the data that we put online has been a hot topic over the last year. In order to protect against unwanted snooping, a group of scientists has created a new secure email service. ProtonMail provides end-to-end encryption, meaning that even the company itself can’t even see the content of your messages…”

Virgin Spaceflights Cleared For Take-Off. Will my 250k get me peanuts and a drink? That, and a sturdy barf bag? The FAA cleared the way for low-orbit trips later this year, as reported by CNN Money: “…Virgin Galactic has been gearing up to offer space flight services for the general public and has said it wants to start offering flights by the end of 2014. Branson and his family will be on Virgin’s first space flight. Virgin Galactic said it has accepted more than $70 million in deposits from about 580 individuals. That’s about 10% more than the total number of people who have ever gone to space…”

* more fascinating details on Virgin Galactic’s upcoming “flights” at The Houston Chronicle.

Hiccuping Through The Weather Report. Yes, every meteorologist’s worst fears. Actually, it’s not our worst fear but right up there in the Top 10. TVSpy.com has the YouTube clip: “After a large hiccup Urbanowicz said, “I’m going to end up on YouTube. I just have this big fear of ending up on YouTube today.” Well guess what Aubrey, the good folks at the Harrisonburg, VA, ABC affiliate were there to make your fears come true! The station posted the video on facebook and asked viewers to help spread the news,..”

TODAY: Muggy, growing risk of T-storms. Dew point: 65. Winds: S 10-20. High: 82
SATURDAY NIGHT: T-storms, heavy rain potential. Low: 68
SUNDAY: Still very sticky. More T-storms, some strong. Dew point: 67. Winds: S/SE 10-15. High: 81
MONDAY: More T-storms & downpours. Wake-up: 68. High: 78
TUESDAY: Mostly cloudy, drying out. Dew point: 61. Wake-up: 62. High: 76
WEDNESDAY: More rain, possible T-storms. Wake-up: 58. High: 74
THURSDAY: Make it stop. Showers linger. Wake-up: 57. High: 72
FRIDAY: Some sun, umbrellas optional? Dew point: 56. Wake-up: 56. High: 77

* image above: Miami office of the National Weather Service.

Climate Stories…

GOP Science Deniers Threaten National Security. Not my headline, but from a marine veteran who is hot under the collar. Here’s a snippet of his Op-Ed at Marketwatch: “…The Republican Party is now officially on record as the party of climate-science denialism. These research programs, ongoing and widely used by the Pentagon in strategic national defense planning for many years, could, if the Senate agrees, become illegal to use. Yes, this Marine veteran is mad as hell. GOP science deniers have “crossed the line,” they’re now messing with national security. America is now under attack from an enemy within, irrational science denialism, a toxic mind-set, a spreading, self-destructive mental virus. Yes, this is a “War on America.” The military has been using climate-science research for decades. This vote is self-destructive. These research studies are essential in our national defense…”

Obama Is Planning His Biggest Climate Policy Yet – And He Doesn’t Need Congress. Vox has more details on the upcoming rule changes regarding coal-fired energy; here’s an excerpt: “…Early reporting suggests that the EPA will set overall emissions limits for each individual state. Power companies in those states will have a variety of options for getting below that limit — using more efficient technology, boosting their use of solar or wind or nuclear, or even joining regional cap-and-trade systems that require companies to pay to emit carbon-dioxide. Early reports suggest that US coal plants could ultimately have to reduce their emissions around 20 percent (though we still don’t know the baseline — more on that below). Those coal plants, in turn, are responsible for about 28.7 percent of all US carbon-dioxide emissions..”

Graphic credit: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

How Obama’s Power Plant Emission Rules Will Work. More details, and a Q and A, from The Washington Post; here’s a clip: “Obama says the rules are essential to curb the heat-trapping greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. Critics contend the rules will kill jobs, drive up electricity prices and shutter plants across the country. Environmentalists and industry advocates alike are eagerly awaiting the specifics, which the Environmental Protection Agency will make public for the first time on Monday and Obama will champion from the White House...” (File photo above: Matt Brown, AP).

The All of the Above Energy Strategy as a Path to Sustainable Economic Growth. More details and light reading in this 43 page PDF from The White House.

Photographer Captures Tar Sands “Destruction” From Above. Huffington Post has the story and pictorial that may ultimately impact how you think about the safety of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline; here’s a clip: “Photographer and pilot Alex MacLean wanted to learn more about the Keystone XL pipeline, which if approved will carry oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, so he decided to take pictures from above of the tar sands that will supply oil to the project. What he found shocked him. “The scale of the operation is staggering,” MacLean told The Huffington Post. It’s “mind-boggling,” he said, how expansive it is, and how much money is being poured into drilling and strip mining for the viscous petroleum product that will give the Keystone XL pipeline its oil…”

Photo credit above: Alex MacLeanBitumen is excavated at the Syncrude Mildred Lake mining site. Giant tires line the traffic circle.”

Cutting Back on Carbon. Here’s an excerpt of a Paul Krugman Op-Ed in The New York Times: “…Everything we know suggests that we can achieve large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at little cost to the economy. Just ask the United States Chamber of Commerce. O.K., that’s not the message the Chamber of Commerce was trying to deliver in the report it put out Wednesday. It clearly meant to convey the impression that the E.P.A.’s new rules would wreak havoc. But if you focus on the report’s content rather than its rhetoric, you discover that despite the chamber’s best efforts to spin things — as I’ll explain later, the report almost surely overstates the real cost of climate protection — the numbers are remarkably small...” (Image: Shutterstock).

Study: Species Disappearing Far Faster Than Before. Here’s an excerpt from AP and The Evansville CourierPress: “Species of plants and animals are becoming extinct at least 1,000 times faster than they did before humans arrived on the scene, and the world is on the brink of a sixth great extinction, a new study says. The study looks at past and present rates of extinction and finds a lower rate in the past than scientists had thought. Species are now disappearing from Earth about 10 times faster than biologists had believed, said study lead author noted biologist Stuart Pimm of Duke University…”

Republicans on Climate Science: Don’t Ask Us. They admit they’re not scientists, yet they refuse to listen to the vast majority of climate scientists who are telling them with one loud voice: “Houston, we have a problem.” Interesting. Politico has the new talking points; here’s an excerpt: “Some leading conservatives have a new talking point on climate science: They’re not qualified to talk about it. House Speaker John Boehner became the latest top Republican to try that tack Thursday, seeking to deflect an issue that has given Democrats an opening to brand the GOP as “anti-science.” “Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change,” Boehner told reporters when asked about the science behind climate change. “But I am astute to understand that every proposal that has come out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs…”

File photo: Matt Brown, AP.