WeatherNation Blog

Friday’s Derecho

Extremely high winds tore through the Ohio Valley and the Mid Atlantic Region yesterday as line of storms moved from Northern Indiana southeastward, all the way down to Virginia and the finally off the coast.  In its wake, it left a path of destruction over 800 miles long and 500 miles wide (at its widest point) including over 700 reports of wind damage. Some of the gusts that produced this damage were over 80 mph.

Time lapse of the radar images as it progressed across the area looks like this.  Starting with a cluster of storms in Northeast Illinois, it formed into a bow echo and continued to expand as it pushed southeast.

The Iowa Environmental Mesonet put together this timelapse of weather radars showing the progression of the derecho.

A stationary frontal boundary was lingering over the area and the storm moved right along that line as pictured below (called a Progressive Derecho).

The path of wreckage that was left in the wake of this storm was mind blowing.  So far there have been 2 fatalities, numerous power outages, downed trees, and damaged structures.

Metal poles bent like straws.

Posted to the National Weather Service Facebook Page in Wilmington, OH:

Winds Storm Takes Down The Cloud

From Venture Beat:

“An outage of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud in North Virginia has taken down Netflix, Pinterest, Instagram, and other services. According to numerous Twitter updates and our own checks, all three services are unavailable as of Friday evening at 9:10 p.m. PT. Amazon’s service health dashboard indicates that there are power issues in its North Virginia data center, most likely caused by severe storms in the region.”

Hot Weather Continues

Another extremely hot day in store for the Eastern US.   Nashville, TN has been shattering records left and right.

Latest summary from the NWS Office in Nashville:



Another hot and hazy day expected in Nashville today.

View from Vanderbilt University this morning.  Record high for today is 106 and the potential high is also right around 106 so that record will be in jeopardy also.

Nashville is not alone in setting new record.  There 521 new high temperature records over the past 2 days in the US:

Enjoy the Weekend and Stay Cool!

Stay Tuned Here for More!

Meteorologist Gretchen Mishek

Heat Wave Expands and Derecho Winds

32 communities from Colorado to Indiana just posted their hottest temperatures ever recorded from June 28-29.
118 F. at Norton Dam, Kansas Thursday – 2 degrees hotter than the July average for Death Valley. Details from The Christian Science Monitor below.

91 mph. straight-line wind gust at Fort Wayne, Indiana Friday afternoon. Thanks to meteorologist Mace Michaels, who captured this photo near Urbana, Iowa – part of the same squall line that blasted the Chicago area with golfball-size hail, sparking intense winds into northern Indiana Friday afternoon.

Record Heat on Friday:

97 F. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
101 F. Georgetown, Delaware
102 F. Washington D.C. (Dulles)
103 F. Roanoke, Virginia
103 F. Indianapolis, Indiana
104 F. Danville, Virginia
104 F. at Charlotte, North Carolina
109 F. at Nashville, Tennessee

Death Valley Heat In Kansas? How The End Of June Got So Hot. Here’s an excerpt of a fascinating story from The Christian Science Monitor: “…Between June 27 and June 28, 32 communities stretching from Colorado to Indiana posted the highest temperatures on record ever for their locations – with a handful tying or topping records set only a few days before, according to data kept by the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Norton Dam, Kan., for instance, recorded an all-time record of 118 degrees F. on Thursday, two degrees above Death Valley‘s July average. The 118-degree reading shattered Norton Dam’s previous record of 113 degrees F. – set just three days before. More than 350 sites across a broad swath of the continent’s interior have posted daily record highs since June 27, with heat advisories on Friday covering all or parts of 23 states from Kansas east to the Carolinas and into the Northeast, and from Wisconsin south to Mississippi and Alabama.”

Map above courtesy of the College of Dupage meteorology department.

“Assuming a constant cost of energy, this season’s heating bills were roughly one-quarter less than average.” – Greg Spoden, Minnesota State Climate Office


5,852 heating degree days in the Twin Cities in the last 12 months; a new record low for energy consumption. Previous record was 6,611 HDD during the winter of 2005-2006. Source: Dr. Mark Seeley – more details below.

We’re seeing a window into what global warming really looks like. It looks like heat, it looks like fires,” Oppenheimer said.” – from a story at The Summit County Citizens Voice; details below.

It appears that we’re about to cross a threshold in summer . . . you might even call it a tipping point as we go into a net energy absorption” of the higher elevations, Box said. “Then we’ll see the melt area expanding abruptly and potentially covering the entire ice sheet in summer for the first time in observations.” – from a Climate Central story below focused on a possible tipping point for Greenland.

The take-home message of our study is that if you do an integration of 20 years following the development of the gas, shale gas is worse than conventional gas and is, in fact, worse than coal and worse than oil,” Howarth said. “We are not advocating for more coal or oil, but rather to move to a truly green, renewable future as quickly as possible. We need to look at the true environmental consequences of shale gas.” – from Cornell University; full story below.

Ultimately, (ExxonMobile CEO) Tillerson said humanity would simply adapt to the effects of a warmer earth. “We have spent our entire existence adapting, OK? So we will adapt to this,” he said.” – from an article, details below.

90-Degree Days In The Twin Cities Since 1980. Thanks to Greg Spoden at the Minnesota Climatology Office for sending me this link.  17 days at or above 90 last summer and 2010. If we see more than 27 days above 90 (starting to think that’s likely) this could wind up being the hottest summer – in terms of number of 90s – since 1988, when MSP endured 44 days above 90.

Massive “Debilitating” Heat Wave Expands East. More details on the expanding, deepening heat wave from meteorologist Andrew Freedman from Climate Central: “An historic heat wave that has helped create tinderbox conditions in Colorado and other Western states is moving east, with record-breaking temperatures expected in at least 13 states Thursday, from Oklahoma to Ohio. Already during the past seven days, 1,701 warm temperature records had been tied or set across the U.S., compared to 401 cool temperature records during the same period. As occurred during the March 2012 heat wave, some of the records that have fallen eclipsed readings not seen since the Dust Bowl-era of the 1930s. The National Weather Service is describing the heat as “debilitating,” warning millions of Americans affected to take precautions against heat-related illness.”

Map credit above: “The maximum heat index forecast for June 30. Click on the image to see a larger version.” Credit: NWS.

It’s Getting Warmer Out There. Here’s an excerpt of Dr. Mark Seeley’s always-excellent weekly post at WeatherTalk, focused on HDD, or heating degree days – which are a measure of how much electricity we consume to keep our homes and offices warm during the cold season here in Minnesota.

“New Record Low Annual Heating Degree Days for the Twin Cities”
The Minnesota State Climatology Office noted this week as the annual Heating Degree Day (HDD) season (July 1 to June 30) comes to an end, that 2011-2012 brought a new record low number for HDD with only 5852. The previous record low value was 6611 recorded in 2005-2006. HDD are calculated using the mean daily temperature when it falls below a base of 65 degrees F. Thus on a day with a mean daily temperature value (maximum + minimum/2) of 50 F, the HDD value would be 15. These are accumulated daily as an index for energy use to heat homes and commercial buildings.”

As Mark Seeley points out in his commentary this morning ( the Twin Cities heating degree day summation for the 2011-2012 heating season is the lowest on record. See table below. This season’s total of 5852 is 23% percent less than the modern normal of 7581. Assuming a constant cost of energy, this season’s heating bills were roughly one-quarter less than average.” – Greg Spoden, Minnesota State Climate Office. Photo above: Walt Kruhoeffer.

446 separate reports of severe wind damage across the Midwest and Ohio Valley as of 9 pm Friday, from the first “derecho“, a long-lasting line of severe storms capable of hurricane-force wind gusts. Source: SPC. File photo above: Wikipedia.

Peak Wind Gusts Friday:

91 mph…Ft. Wayne, IN


90 mph…Marengo, IA


84 mph…Paulding, OH


84 mph…Findlay, OH


83 mph…Gahanna, OH (1 injury)


82 mph…Wapakoneta, OH


82 mph…Dayton, OH


82 mph…OSU Airport(believe this is near the campus in OH)


81 mph…Lancaster, OH


80 mph…Versailles, OH


80 mph…Bellefontaine, OH


80 mph…Dublin, OH


80 mph…Mount Gilead, OH


80 mph…Ladora, IA


80 mph…Springville, IA


100 Degree Heat – Violent Thunderstorms. Along the northern periphery of 100-degree, blast-furnace heat, severe storms bubbled up, sparking straight-line winds topping 90 mph. at times Friday, traveling over 800 miles in the span of 12 hours yesterday. Map above: SPC.

A Wild Display. Thanks to Jeannie Hayes from WREX-TV in Rockford, Illinois for sharing these wild (wave) clouds, part of the same squall line that carpet-bombed parts of the Midwest with large hail and hurricane-force wind gusts yesterday.

Eerie Sky. Thanks to David Hendrickson, who snapped this photo in South Beloit, Wisconsin yesterday. A temperature inversion 4,000 to 6,000 feet above the ground created some wild-looking wave clouds.

87 MPH Wind Gusts At Romeoville. The Chicago office of the NWS (located in Romeoville, in Will County, far southwest suburbs of Chicago) observed a straight-line wind gust to 87 mph. at 9:53 pm last night.

Saturday Severe Storm Threat. More strong to severe storms are likely today from the Red River Valley and central Nebraska east to Peoria, Indianapolis, Columbus, Philadelphia and the Washington D.C. area, according to SPC.

5-Day Rainfall Prediction. NOAA’s HPC is predicting widely scattered T-storms over the Mid Atlantic Region, a few may be severe over the weekend. The best chance of storms: Chicago westward to Omaha and North Dakota. South Texas may pick up some 1″+ rainfall amounts by Thursday.

Waldo Canyon Fire: New Aerial Photos Reveal Horrifying Devastation To Homes. Huffington Post has photos and videos of the surreal damage to the Mountain Shadows neighborhood of Colorado Springs; here’s an excerpt: “Officials said that approximately 346 homes were destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire making it the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history — and newly released aerial photos reveal the extent of the horrible destruction in the region. These aerial photos in the slideshow below, taken on Thursday, June 28, show the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs. The Waldo Canyon fire burning near Colorado Springs began burning on Saturday, June 23 and by Sunday — fueled by record heat, high winds and dryness — it grew rapidly and forced the evacuation of 11,000 residents. After several days of Red Flag Warnings, conditions were ripe for further growth, and by Tuesday, June 26, Waldo Canyon Fire exploded.”

Photo credit above: “This aerial photo shows the destructive path of the Waldo Canyon fire in the Mountain Shadows subdivision area of Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 28, 2012. Colorado Springs officials said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the raging wildfire.” (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti)

Waldo Canyon Blaze 25% Contained. No T-storms Friday meant no sudden wind shifts, and firefighters were able to make progress, the Colorado Springs (worst in Colorado history) now 25% contained. Details from

Total Personnel1,287
Size17,073 acres
Percent Contained25%
Estimated Containment DateMonday July 16th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels InvolvedBrush, hardwood slash, Mountain shrub, oak, grass, Pinon juniper, Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, spruce, Limber pine, White pine
Fire BehaviorActive surface fire with unassisted burning of interior islands. Isolated single and group tree torching. Conditions have been favorable for burnout to secure line construction.
Significant EventsTwo civilian fatalities have been reported by the city of Colorado Springs. Structure damage assesment continues with 346 reported destroyed and 24 damaged. Evacuees were allowed to return late yesterday afternoon and evening to most of the evacuation area in west Colorado Springs. Two large interior islands to the west of the Air Force Academy burned off late in the afternoon. Thunderstorm outflow winds tested containment lines. Direct line construction and a small burnout in Division D began early in the morning and is expected to be successful. Spotfires north of Rampart Reservior are expected to be lined today. Crews worked with Colorado Springs to ensure that all structures that were destroyed present no threat of fire spread.


Social Media Mash-Up. Kudos to The Denver Post for one of the best interactive mapping tools I’ve ever seen (anywhere). You can zoom into any active fire, click on photos, YouTube clips, track storms, wind conditions, wildfire perimeters – even check on wildfire potential. An amazingly powerful tool.

Modeling Smoke Dispersion. Yesterday I discovered that NOAA is modeling smoke plumes from western wildfires. More in this YouTube clip: “When volcanoes erupt, toxic plumes are released, or wildfires burn, NOAA’s HYSPLIT model is used to answer some fundamental questions: where will it go and how concentrated will it be? The HYSPLIT wild fire smoke model run on June 29th, 2012 at 6z shows the cloud of smoke being emitted from many of the wildfires raging in the Western U.S. The actual locations of these point-source pollutants can be seen as very high concentration smoke areas. The ability of the GOES satellite todetect aerosols is an important input to these models, as are the wind measurements derived from GOES infrared imagery.”

NOAA air quality website:

Ozone Concentrations. NOAA provides real-time forecasts of ozone, dust, smoke and other pollutants. The map above shows expected ozone concentrations at 6 pm today, moderate levels over the south metro. Ozone is critical in the stratosphere, where it shields Earth from harmful UV radiation. But the combination of man-made pollutants and sunshine can trigger ozone (smog) at ground-level. Ozone is a lung irritant – of greatest concern to people with asthma and respiratory problems.

“Ask Paul”. Weather-related Q&A:

Hello Paul – I see you are giving dew point predictions in your forecast. Why aren’t all forecasters including dew point readings in there forecasts along with temperature, wind, humidity and precipitation?





Paul Bernards



Thanks Paul – I’m just responding to reader requests. Over the years, as more and more Minnesotans have “discovered” the merits of dew point (vs. relative humidity) I’ve received more pleas to include dew point in the forecast, both print and blog. One number, and you know (instantly) how it’s going to feel out there. Unlike relative humidity, dew point doesn’t bounce around with the temperature. Why don’t others include it? Not sure. You’d have to ask them – I suspect they may be concerned about alienating (older) viewers, who may be more comfortable with relative humidity. There’s another possible factor: data fatigue. If you throw up too many numbers on the screen it’s a sure-fire recipe that most of what you say will be quickly forgotten. In a perfect world (it ain’t, by the way) I’d include not only dew point, but a “Confidence Level” in the forecast, based on whether the models are in agreement, etc. But at some point you have so much…crap…up on the screen that people tune out. Their eyes glaze over. On the blog I have more space and latitude to include additional details that would be tough to squeeze in on the videos we update, so I’m testing some things  here, to see how well they’re received. For now dew point predictions will continue, at least through Labor Day.


Water Statistics. I thought this was an interesting link, as I was doing some rough calculations about how much water really fell on northeastern Minnesota during the historic Duluth flood. Here’s some food for thought from USGS:

How much water falls during a rainstorm?

Have you ever wondered how much water falls onto your yard during a rainstorm? Using a 1-inch rainstorm as an example, the table below gives example of how much water falls during your storm for various land areas.

There are 640 acres in a square mile.

Once on the land, rainfall either seeps into the ground or becomes runoff, which flows into rivers and lakes. What happens to the rain after it falls depends on many factors such as:

  • The rate of rainfall – A lot of rain in a short period tends to run off the land into streams rather than soak into the ground.
  • The topography of the land – Topography is the lay of the land — the hills, valleys, mountains, and canyons. Water falling on unlevel land drains downhill until it becomes part of a stream, finds a hollow place to accumulate, like a lake, or soaks into the ground.
  • Soil conditions – There is a lot of dense clay in the southeastern United States that rain has a hard time soaking into. Contrast that to the sandy soils in more desert areas, which allow water to quickly be absorbed, at least initially.
  • Density of vegetation – It has long been known that plant growth helps decrease erosion caused by flowing water. If you look at hills without vegetation you’ll see gullies dug out by running water. Land with plant cover slows the speed of the water flowing on it and thus helps to keep soil from eroding.
  • Amount of urbanization – As a city is being built, a lot of money and construction goes into moving water out of built-up areas. Roads, pavement, and parking lots create impervious areas where water can no longer seep into the ground. Rather, water is funneled into creeks and streams that were never meant by nature to handle so much runoff. This can cause problems in urban areas.

The table below gives example of how much water (in millions of gallons) falls within the city limits of selected cities when one inch of rainfall occurs.

Information above courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau.
* photo above: ThinkStock.

Road Closures. The recent (1-in-500 year) flood in the Duluth washed out scores of roads – it IS possible to get up north, but you may encounter a few detours on your way to Ely, the BWCA and North Shore. Best to check MnDOT’s 511 web site for specific closures before hitting the highways.


Hottest 12 Months On Record. Here’s an update from The Onion. I’m not sure, but I think it’s satire: “The period between May 2011 and April 2012 was the hottest since record-keeping began in 1895. What do you think?



My Photo

Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

Heat, Storms, and An Extra Second

Hot Weather Takes Over the US

The ongoing heat wave will now gradually shift into the Eastern US with the hot weather continuing right into this weekend.  With the warm air spreading east, triple digit heat will extend from the Atlantic Coast back into the Southwest, encompassing 26 states.

Highs even as far north as Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota will be into the upper 80s and low 90s!

Some helpful tips from the CDC about dealing with the heat and some signs of heat exhaustion. From the CDC, “Extremely high or unusually hot temperatures can affect your health. On average, 675 deaths from extreme heat events occur each year in the United States. Most vulnerable are the elderly, those who work or exercise outdoors, infants and
children, the homeless or poor, and people with a chronic medical condition.”

For more helpful information, check out:

Another way to stay cool is to get some Gelato!

Webcam from Paolos Gelato shop in Atlanta, GA. No customers in view (still too early for sweet treats) but I am sure they will stay busy over the next few days!

From the National Weather Service in Atlanta: The last day Atlanta hit 100 degrees or greater was on August 22, 2007 with a temperature of 104 degrees. Looks like we are heading towards breaking 100 at Atlanta today!

Many new records were set yesterday, including several all-time high temperature records.  From around the country, there were 131 new record highs:

This hot weather isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, 6 to 10 day temperature trend indicating a warm stretch of weather is coming for the central and northern plains (that includes the 4th of July holiday weekend!)

Meanwhile, a weak frontal boundary approaches brings the potential of severe weather to the Ohio River today as front slides south over the Great Lakes.

This front will stall out and bring storms to some of the areas for a couple days in a row. For tomorrow, the severe weather as the threat area shifts slightly eastward.

Storms Already Moving into the Chicago Area – thanks to Janet Stosur for sharing with us!

Winds picking up as this storm rolls in.  Reports from around Northern IL:

GENEA – - gust 51 mph at 11:54 a.m. ET / 10:54 a.m. CT – - Geneva Middle School in Geneva, IL

GNVHS – - gust 50 mph at 11:56 a.m. ET / 10:56 a.m. CT – - Geneva High School in Geneva, IL   (Kane Co)

DLKLB – - gust 48 mph at 11:29 a.m. ET / 10:29 a.m. CT – - Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL

KDKB – - gust 47 mph at 11:35 a.m. EDT / 10:35 a.m. CDT – -  Municipal Airport in De Kalb, Illinois, USA

KRPJ – - gust 44 mph at 11:15 a.m. EDT / 10:15 a.m. CDT – - Koritz Field in Rochelle, IL

Severe Thunderstorm Watch In Effect Until Tonight:

Gaining An Extra Second

Tomorrow will be one second longer!  The last minute of June 30th will be 61 seconds long.  How are you going to spend it? Here’s the story from The Telegraph:

Scientists are adding one second to June 30th.  The final minute of June 30th will be 61 seconds long. The adjustments began in 1972. Before then, time was measured exclusively by the position of the Sun or stars in relation to Earth, expressed in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or its successor UT1. This will be the 25th intervention to add a “leap second” to UTC. “Today, time is constructed, defined and measured with atomic clocks that are infinitely more stable than astronomical time,” Noel Dimarcq, director of the SYRTE time-space reference system at the Paris Observatory told AFP. “This allows us to ensure that everyone on Earth is on the exact same time.” TAI is kept by several hundred atomic clocks around the world, measuring fluctuations in the atom of the chemical element caesium that allows them to divide a single second into 10 billion smaller bits. With such precision, “only one (atomic) second is lost every 300 million years,” said Dimarcq.

Read More Here:

Meteorologist Gretchen Mishek

Heat Wave of 2012 Gets Bigger, More Intense and a Fire Update

First 100+ F. June day in Chicago in 24 years (since 1988)

Thursday Record Highs:

*St. Louis, MO—108 (Previous record 104 in 1952)


*Indianapolis, IN—104 (101 in 1934) All-time record high for the month of June


*Fort Wayne, IN—106 (102 in 1934) Ties Fort Wayne’s all-time record high set in 1988


*Evansville, IN—106 (102 in 1936) All-time June record


*Russell, KS—110 (108 in 1968)


*Dodge City, KS—108 (Ties record from 1998, 1990, 1930)


*Toledo, OH—103 (101 in 1934)


*Nashville, TN—105 (104 in 1952)


*Louisville, KY—103 (Record high for June)



* thanks to Seth Carrier from Earth Networks for passing these along.


Over 1,000 Record Highs In One Week. The heat wave is growing more intense, expanding east, and will be a fixture for at least the next 7-10 days. Map above courtesy of NOAA and Ham Weather. Details:

Total Records:2653
High Temp:1142
Low Temp:223
Low Max Temp:221
High Min Temp:649

Air Pollution Health Advisory. Another day with high ozone concentrations in the Twin Cities metro and Rochester; more from the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency):

At-risk populations: Ozone is expected to near a level that is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. Those sensitive to ozone include people with preexisting respiratory conditions, the elderly, children, and individuals who participate in outdoor activities requiring extended or heavy exertion. These individuals are encouraged to postpone or reduce vigorous outdoor activity, or schedule outdoor activity in the morning, when ozone levels are lower. Even persons who are otherwise healthy may experience health effects when ozone levels increase.

Health impacts: Elevated levels of ozone have been linked with respiratory health effects. Exposure to high levels of ozone may exacerbate preexisting health conditions. High ozone levels may make it more difficult to breathe deeply and vigorously, cause shortness of breath and breathing discomfort, and result in coughing and a sore or scratchy throat. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician.

* map above from – click on this link for the latest numbers for the Twin Cities

What Is The UV Index? I know – one more thing to worry about, but all of us should pay attention to the UV (ultraviolet) Index, to lower the risk of not only sunburn, but melanoma. More from NOAA’s CPC: “The UV Index is a next day forecast of the amount of skin damaging UV radiation expected to reach the earth’s surface at the time when the sun is highest in the sky (solar noon). The amount of UV radiation reaching the surface is primarily related to the elevation of the sun in the sky, the amount of ozone in the stratosphere, and the amount of clouds present. The UV Index can range from 0 (when it is night time) to 15 or 16 (in the tropics at high elevations under clear skies). UV radiation is greatest when the sun is highest in the sky and rapidly decreases as the sun approaches the horizon. The higher the UV Index, the greater the DOSE RATE of skin damaging (and eye damaging) UV radiation…..There are two prices to pay for overexposure to UV radiation: a severe sun burn following an intense short term overexposure, and the more serious skin cancers developing after long term overexposure. MELANOMA, the more deadly of the two types of skin cancer, occurs when the patient has been subjected to several intense short term overexposures.

QPF. The 5-Day rainfall prediction from NOAA shows heavy rain for south Texas, and a band of potentially moderate showers and T-storms stretching from Des Moines and Chicago to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. The Central Plains and much of the west stay dry, and stinking hot.

Sizzling Bullseye. NOAA’s CPC (Climate Prediction Center) shows a (very) significant bias toward much warmer than average weather across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest through July 8. Map: NOAA and Ham Weather.

Troubling Trends. Here is some additional information from the scientists and journalists at Climate Communication: “As a heat wave sweeps across much of the country and wildfires rage in the West, many are wondering about the connection between these types of extreme weather events and climate change. Climate Communication has put together “Heat Waves and Climate Change”, a summary of the latest peer-reviewed literature on climate change and the recent increase in temperatures – a contributing factor to wildfires.

Some facts from “Heat Waves and Climate Change”:

- Since 1950 the number of heat waves worldwide has increased, and heat waves have become longer.

- In the past several years, the global area hit by extremely unusual hot temperatures has increased 50-fold.

- In the U.S., new record high temperatures now regularly outnumber new record lows by a ration of 2:1; in 2012, the ratio for the year (through June 26) stands at more than 9:1.

- In the U.S., the rise in heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere has increased the probability of record-breaking temperatures 15-fold.

- If we continue business as usual, the same summertime temperatures that ranked among the top 5% in 1950-1979 will occur at least 70% of the time by 2035-2064 in the U.S.

- By the end of this century, a once-every-20 year heat wave is projected to occur every other year.

Waldo Canyon (Colorado Springs) Blow-Up. Here’s a remarkable YouTube clip, showing the scale of the blaze, courtesy of bburtt1: “Waldo Canyon blow up Tuesday 6/26/2012 – Colorado Springs. Video from our bedroom window 60+ miles to the north of the fire in Lakewood Colorado. I have been on a few hot fires like this in Calif. and Montana but this one was really gobbling with 60+ mph winds behind it. Tough year here in Colorado!!

Fiery Aftermath. As destructive as an (unimaginable) 10-20 mile wide EF-5 tornado, a wall of flames consumed the Mountain Shadows neighborhood, just northwest of downtown Colorado Springs – details and a YouTube video from AP: “Firefighters in Colorado Springs are struggled to gain control after a forest fire that started west of the city. An AP aerial tour of one neighborhood showed hundreds of heavily damaged or destroyed homes as well as charred forests.”

Pineridge Fire. Here’s a photo and description from the Grand Junction, Colorado office of The National Weather Service, via Facebook: “Pineridge Fire, taken just west of the WFO Grand Junction parking lot at 630 pm, 6/28.”

Western Wildfire Plumes From Space. Here is a YouTube video clip captured by astronauts onboard the ISS, the International Space Station: “A video camera aboard the International Space Station captured this footage of the wildfires burning in the Western U.S., including Colorado.”

Another Duststorm Blows Through Phoenix Area. has the story, and some amazing video: “Another dust storm blew through the Phoenix metropolitan area and parts of southern Arizona on Wednesday evening. The massive wall of dust was more than 3,000 feet high and 10 to 15 miles wide. The storm did cause flight delays of 15 to 30 minutes at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. National Weather Service meteorologists said the latest dust storm limited visibility on some areas of Interstate 10 to less than 1 mile.”

Flood’s Mud Clouds Lake Superior. I pointed this out a few days ago – looking at NASA’s MODIS high-res imagery it was hard not to miss the muddy runoff from the recent historic rains in the Duluth area. Here’s an update from The Star Tribune: “The rain that flooded Duluth last week also flushed an unprecedented quantity of dirt, pollution and bacteria into Lake Superior — enough to make experts worry about the long-term environmental consequences on the largest and clearest of the Great Lakes. One day after the storm, sediment runoff made the lake opaque for miles along the shore, local researchers say. Satellite photos show a wide swath of mud streaming into the lake from the Duluth harbor almost all the way to the Apostle Islands. “We don’t know what’s going to happen because we’ve never seen this,” said Elizabeth Austin-Minor, an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory.”

Debby Floods Neighborhoods In Northern Florida. As much as 25-30″ of rain fell in the Tallahassee area – here’s an excerpt from an AP summary of Debby’s rainy wrath: “Debby destroyed homes and businesses, washed away roads and flooded neighborhoods in Florida before the once-large tropical storm drifted out to sea Wednesday, leaving behind a sopping mess. At least three people were killed in the storm. More than 100 homes and businesses were flooded and officials warned that the waters may not recede until next week in some places. The storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers, though most had electricity restored by the time Debby left the state. The tropical storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday and gradually made its way across the Florida, drenching the state for several days before it weakened to a depression. The windy, rainy weather ruined vacations for some.”

Photo credit above: “A man paddles through flood waters from Tropical Storm Debby in downtown Live Oak, Fla. on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. The National Hurricane Center says Debby has weakened to a tropical depression as it continues to move across Florida, bringing flooding to many areas.” (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Matt Stamey)

Post-Flood Health Risk Warning. Here’s more on the aftermath of Debby’s drenching rains, and lingering concerns for the Sunshine State, from “TALLAHASSEE, Fla.- The State Emergency Response Team (SERT), with the Florida Department of Health, encourages Floridians to use caution as flooding and standing water form as a result of the heavy rains from Tropical Storm Debby, now a post-tropical cyclone. “We urge residents and visitors in affected areas to take precautions to conserve water and protect themselves and their families from potential health risks presented by storm surge and floodwaters,” said State Coordinating Officer Bryan W. Koon. “As the SERT continues to respond to the impacts of Tropical Storm Debby, life safety is our first and foremost concern and Florida’s residents and visitors should continue to heed instructions from local officials.”

Weather Alerts Coming Soon To Smartphone Near You. More on free text alerts from NOAA at; here’s an excerpt: “MINNEAPOLIS – Millions of smartphone users will soon begin receiving text messages about severe weather from a sophisticated government system that can send a blanket warning to mobile devices in the path of a dangerous storm.The National Weather Service’s new Wireless Emergency Alerts system offers a new way to warn Americans about menacing weather, even if they are nowhere near a television, radio or storm sirens. Beginning Thursday, the system will notify people about approaching tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards and other threats. When a warning is issued for a specific county, a message of no more than 90 characters will cause late-model smartphones in that area to sound a special tone and vibrate.”

Photo credit above: “Bob Burns holds his smartphone Wednesday, June 27, 2012 in Minnetonka, Minn. Millions of smartphone users wiil soon begin receiving text messages about severe weather from a sophisticated government system that can send a blanket warning to mobile devices in the path of a dangerous storm.” (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

How To Get Rid Of Mosquitoes: Testing 11 Homeade Remedies. I thought this might be a useful nugget (for everyone). With the recent monsoon rains the bug situation is pretty bad out there. Here’s an excerpt of a timely slide-show from “Reach for the calamine lotion, it’s mosquito season. Mosquitoes are out in full force right now because warm weather allows a mosquito egg to become an adult in less than a week. Mosquitoes can infect millions of people every year and this year may especially be a doozy due to the mild winter we had. And with over 150 species of mosquitoes in North America (over 3,000 in the world), these pesky critters can really put a damper on summer fun! The thing is, we’re not always huge fans of conventional mosquito repellants on the market, which often irritate the skin. In the interest of seeing if there are chemical-free remedies, we’ve tested the following ways to get rid of mosquitoes. What worked and what should be left to the garden? Click through our slideshow to find out.”



My Photo

Welcome to the WeatherNation blog. Every day I sift through hundreds of stories, maps, graphics and meteorological web sites, trying to capture some of the most interesting weather nuggets, the stories behind the forecast. I’ll link to stories and share some of the web sites I use. I’m still passionate about the weather, have been ever since Tropical Storm Agnes flooded my home in Lancaster, PA in 1972. I’ve started 5 weather-related companies. “EarthWatch” created the world’s first 3-D weather graphics for TV stations – Steven Spielberg used our software in “Jurassic Park” and “Twister”. My last company, “Digital Cyclone”, personalized weather for cell phones. “My-Cast” was launched in 2001 and is still going strong on iPhone, Android and Blackberry. I sold DCI to Garmin in 2007 so I could focus on my latest venture: WeatherNation. I also write a daily weather column for The Star Tribune And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather

Western Wildfires, Extreme Heat, Debby and Florida Flooding

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

I snapped this picture on Tuesday near Stanley, ND from a family farm in northwest North Dakota…

Duluth, MN Flooding

Here’s a picture from space over the western tip of Lake Superior. It was a little more than a week ago that 8″ to 10″ of rain fell within 24 hours, creating massive flooding. The runoff from the heavy rain shows up as dirty water at the head of the lake…

See more flooding photos from MPR HERE:

Florida Flooding

Thanks to T.A.R.D.I.S for the picture below from Sopchoppy Co. FL…

Here’s more on the flooding from Debbie from the city of Jacksonville, FL

From the City of Jackonsville: Mayor Alvin Brown signed a declaration of emergency today at 5 p.m. The declaration enables the city to seek state and federal aid for damages related to Tropical Depression Debby. More than 1,000 city workers, including Public Works, JSO and JFRD, assessed over one-third of the city’s properties Wednesday. Mayor Brown and Fire Chief Marty Senterfitt accompanied several assessment crews to many of the affected areas. Damage evaluations are scheduled to continue Thursday.”

Florida Rainfall

This is the radar estimated rainfall over the past 7 days… note the white contours in the north central part of the state. Those are radar estimates of 20″!

Excessive Heat Continues

The National Weather Service has several Excessive Heat headlines posted across the nation through the upcoming weekend where heat index values could top 100°. Actual air temperatures could reach 110°+

High Temps Yesterday

Look at these crazy high temperatures from Wednesday! There are several spots reporting triple digit heat… 115° was reported in Hill City, KS!

Record Highs Past Week

According to there have been over 1000 record high temperatures (tied or broken) in the past week.

Forecast Highs Today

These are the forecast high temperatures for today. St. Louis, MO could hit their All-Time record high for June, which is 105° and maybe even surpass it!

Colorado Wildfires

The Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs has now burned more than 18,500 acres.  That’s an increase of 3,000 acres since yesterday at this time.   And it’s still only 5% contained.  Here’s a snippet from inciweb updated about 10am MT, Thursday.

Structures threatened: 20,085 residences and 160 commercial structures
Evacuees: Approx. 32, 000
Cost to Date: $3, 200, 000
Structures lost Yet to be determined

Wind and Waldo Canyon Fire 

Want a sense of the wind’s power in wildfires.  Here’s a great explanation and video from Matt Meister-Storm Tracker 13.

Click Here to watch the time lapse video that goes with Matt’s post.

Forced to Flee: A personal story

Imagine having just a few minutes to pack up your loved ones and belongings and get out of town.   Bill Vogren wrote about his family’s experience in the story “Hell in the rearview mirror”.  It was published in the

Here’s an excerpt.

In the garage, I stopped at the wall where we traced our kids’ profile, measuring their heights to document their growth over the years. I took one last picture of the shark mural in my youngest son’s bedroom, grabbed my oldest boy’s high school letterman’s jacket, took a photo of my daughter at Disney World and began our escape.

Read more:

Wildfire and Wildlife 

The Waldo Canyon Fire also sent wildlife running from their mountain homes into more populated areas.  Bobbi L. Belport’s husband, Steve and his buddy, Chris, both volunteer firefighters, rescued this fawn from Waldo Canyon Tuesday, June 26.

Photo courtesy: Bobbi L. Belport.

Fire updates and

Phoenix Dust Storm

Two evenings in a row of Dust Storms caused some disruptions for folks in the Phoenix area.  Weather Nation Facebook fan, Mary Hoke shared some amazing pictures with us.  Here is one of her photos.  This is from the Mesa, AZ area.

What’s the weather like where you are today? Please send us your photos.  You can either share on our Facebook wall or upload to the WeatherNation website.  We look forward to showcasing your work in our broadcasts.

Thanks for checking in on this Thursday, have a great rest of the week/weekend!

Don’t forget to check me out on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV