WeatherNation Blog

Stormy Wake-up, Steamy U.S. and Drought denting rains

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Morning thunderstorms at the WNTV studios brought out the weather geeks in us… Here is my good friend and colleague at WeatherNation, meteorologist Aaron Shaffer, who seems to be entranced by the heavy rain, lightning and thunder… It also looks like Aaron now has a shovel for an arm/hand.

Serious Flashing and Splashing

Take a look at the radar loop below… this is what rolled through the Twin Cities during wee morning hours and what caused so much commotion!

Video_1340096049   <—- Click the link to see the loop

Several Wind Damage Reports

Look at all the wind damage reports from just south of the Twin Cities into Wisconsin… The highest wind gust was 83mph out of Belle Plaine, MN. Several locations reported uprooted trees and downed power lines. XCEL Energy reported nearly 72,000 customers lost power earlier today with nearly 60,000 customers were still without power around 6am.

WeatherNation Meteorologist Bryan Karrick Was Busy

WeatherNation Meteorologist Bryan Karrick was busy earlier today taking pictures of uprooted trees and snapped power poles… take a look at the images below.

Thanks to Travis Overbye for this picture from the Lakeville, MN Airport… YIKES!

Severe Threat Today

Here is the severe weather threat today… the yellow coloring below indicates the highest potential for hail, high winds and possibly even an isolated tornado.

Hot Across Most of the U.S.

Get ready to sweat. Much of the U.S. is looking at high temps and high dew points over the next couple days.   When you step outside, it will feel more like a steam room.  Check out all of the red on the high temp map from Hamweather.com

Sticky Across the Eastern Half of the U.S.

Now check out some of the dew points! Dew point temps close to 70 makes it feel tropical… it’s the kind of air you can wear!

Who needs rain, who doesn’t?

Heavy rain over the past several weeks across parts of the Upper Midwest has helped to put a big dent in the drought. However, according to the Palmer Drought index, we could still use more rain in several spots across the nation, especially the Southwest.  Check out this map showing which parts of the country are still in need of rainfall.

We want to see your photos!

And a thank you to Michael Adkins for sharing this photo from Isle, MN showing the cool clouds over his son’s baseball game.

You can share your photos on our website at WeatherNationTV.com 

Just look for these buttons.

Thanks for checking in on this Tuesday, have a great rest of you week!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @TNelsonWNTV

Flood Watches & Excessive Heat Warnings

Flash Flood Watch. The local NWS office has issued a flood watch for much of Minnesota. The ground is saturated from recent rains; another 1-3″ of rain is possible by Wednesday morning – much of that water will almost immediately run off into streams, streets (and some basements). Details:

...HEAVY RAINFALL POSSIBLE TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY...

.A FLASH FLOOD WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR MUCH OF CENTRAL AND
SOUTHERN MINNESOTA ALONG WITH A SMALL PART OF WEST CENTRAL
WISCONSIN FROM TUESDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY. SOME LOCATIONS IN THE
WATCH AREA INCLUDE LITTLE FALLS...MORA...ST. CLOUDY...WILLMAR...
HUTCHINSON...THE TWIN CITIES METROPOLITAN AREA...OWATONNA...
RED WING...RIVER FALLS...NEW RICHMOND AND BALSAM LAKE.

SEVERAL ROUNDS OF THUNDERSTORMS WILL OCCUR TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY AS
A WARM FRONT LIFTS NORTH ACROSS THE AREA ON TUESDAY FOLLOWED BY A
COLD FRONT TUESDAY NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY. TORRENTIAL RAINFALL MAY
OCCUR IN THE THUNDERSTORMS WITH RAINFALL RATES OF 2 INCHES AN HOUR
LIKELY. THE GROUND IS QUITE WET FROM PREVIOUS RAINFALL OVER THE
PAST TWO WEEKS AND REPEATED ROUNDS OF HEAVY RAIN WILL LEAD TO
SIGNIFICANT RUNOFF ALONG WITH FLASH FLOODING. RAINFALL TOTALS OF 3
TO 6 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE BY LATE WEDNESDAY IN AREAS WHERE REPEATED
ROUNDS OF THUNDERSTORMS TRAIN.

 

Tuesday Severe Risk. It’s like clockwork – we seem to get nailed with hail and high water every other day. You could almost set your watch to these waves of severe storms. SPC has much of the eastern Dakotas, Minnesota and northern Wisconsin in a “slight risk” of severe storms today, meaning damaging hail, straight-line winds, even a few isolated tornadoes.

Soggy Bullseye. The latest NOAA HPC 5-day rainfall forecast shows some 2-4″ rainfall amounts over Minnesota, as much as 5″+ over the Florida Keys. Meanwhile most of the southwest remains tinder-dry, only light showers and widely scattered T-storms for the northeastern USA.

Last week in Virginia, the General Assembly approved a study on the effects of sea-level rise only after references to “sea level rise” were removed. The phenomenon has been rechristened “recurrent flooding.” References to “climate change” have similarly disappeared from the official Virginia lexicon.” – from an article at KansasCity.com. A great overview on the climate change equation, and why it’s time to do something (now) from Grist.com below.

Retired Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn added: “There is not a shred of political correctness in what the military is doing with energy efficiency or renewable energy. From lance corporal to general, they are on board. They live with the problems from the over-reliance on fossil fuels.” Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran, underscored this point in a Huffington Post op-ed: “[T]he military isn’t on some kind of ecological mission when it comes to renewables. They’re trying to help ensure men and women come home to their loved ones.” – from a story at EcoWatch; details below.

Excessive Heat Warning. The NWS has issued heat warnings for the Delaware Valley, where the combination of heat and humidity may result in a heat index as high as 110 F. by Thursday.

Heat Index. When there is a lot of water in the air, like there will be today with dew points in the 70s, your body can’t cool itself naturally by evaporating sweat off your skin. There is less “evaporative cooling”, and it’s much easier to overheat. The risk of heat exhaustion and even heat stroke will be significant in the coming days.

Tornado Damage In Ortonville. The photo above comes courtesy of The Ortonville Independent, via Facebook: “Ortonville hit by storm. Main St (2nd) is a mess.”

Minot Still Recovering A Year After Historic Flood. Details from AP and The Dickinson Press: “Events are planned this weekend to celebrate Minot’s recovery from the historic Souris River flooding a year ago _ a rebound that North Dakota’s fourth-largest city is far from completing. The “Weekend of Hope: Return to Oak Park” events will be highlighted by the reopening of the area’s largest park on Friday. Other family oriented events are planned for Saturday. Mayor Curt Zimbelman said in a statement that it is a time to remember how far the community has come in the past year. “And since we still have a long way to go, we will rededicate ourselves to do whatever it takes to continue restoring the hope needed for our city and valley to rebuild from the 2011 flood,” he said.” (AP Photo/The Grand Forks Herald, Christian Randolph, File)

40 Years Ago Hurricane Agness Flooding Devastated Area. This is the storm (Tropical Storm Agnes) that ultimately got me interested in meteorology. Ask most TV meteorologists and they’ll probably confide that some sort of storm (flood, hurricane, tornado, blizzard) put the fear of God in them, and got them started on a meteorology path. Here’s an excerpt (and video clip) from Norristown, PA  The Times-Herald: “The Pottstown Mercury’s headlines in late June 1972 were as dramatic as they come in the newspaper business.” Words like “devastate,” “critical,” “massive,” and “destruction” were bolded across the paper’s top. As a reader goes through the pages, day by day, the headlines don’t get much better. “Industry in Pottstown Crippled by Schuylkill” — June 23.”

Typhoon Guchol. Here’s the latest on Typhoon (same thing as a hurricane) “Guchol”, threatening coastal Japan, courtesy of the University of Wisconsin CIMSS: “Here’s a MODIS image of Typhoon Guchol heading toward Japan & forecast to make landfall Tuesday.”

A Wider View. Here’s another view of Typhoon Guchol from Digital Typhoon, threatening southern Japan with a direct strike later today.

Hurricane Season Is Here: Are You Prepared? Some good information and advice in this article from riverheadlocal.com; here’s an excerpt: “Advance planning is the key to survival, he said. “Have a plan,” he cautioned. There are many planning resources, including Riverhead Town’s emergency preparedness webpage, the NOAA website, the Red Cross Hurricane Safety Checklist, and Suffolk County. Dickman’s top two suggestions: get familiar with the hazards in your area, such as storm surge, flooding, and downed trees; and consider evacuation/sheltering well in advance of the storm’s arrival. “Know where nearby shelters may be located and plan your evacuation routes. Leave plenty of time to get away,” he said, warning that the day before the storm may be too late.”

Photo Of The Day: “Supercell”. Thanks to Jackie Noshea – who’s sister sent in this remarkable photo from Herman, Minnesota Sunday afternoon.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/17/3656324/commentary-add-rising-sea-levels.html#storylink=cpy

“Ask Paul”. Weather-related Q&A:

“Hello!
I was wondering about the lightning (Sunday) night that I noted in the east-southeast skies, if it was lightning. I woke up and could not figure out what the flashing lights were. When I looked outside it appeared to be lightning of some type, but it was not like any type of lightning I have seen before. I haven’t heard anything on the weather reports about it so I thought you might be able to help.
Thanks!

Jan Rigsby

New Mexico Wildfire Threatens Smokey The Bear’s Home. Details from USA Today: “One of the serious forest fires in New Mexico is in the area where the legendary Smokey the Bear was found as a cub. The “Little Bear” fire is burning in the Smokey the Bear Ranger District, White Mountain Wilderness and Lincoln National Forest in southern New Mexico near Ruidoso. The forest is where the scared bear cub was rescued in 1950. He went on to become the symbol of the U.S. Forest Service, with an animated version growling, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!” in public service announcements.”

Little Bear Fire Operations Brief On Chronology And Tactics. If you’re tracking the western fires, check out this Vimeo video update: “Joe Reinarz’s Type 1 Southwest Incident Management Team, Operations Chief, Carl Schwope details the chronology of the Little Bear Fire in New Mexico that started on June 4, 2012. Schwope explains the tactics used by the team to manage the fire when they arrived on June 9th.”

In Search Of Summer. Yes, summer comes only reluctantly to Denali National Park and Preserve; as explained in this Facebook post: “The June hours. Sometimes bring spring flowers. Sometimes snow showers.” ~NH

Pssst…You Wanna Buy A Jet-Powered Go Kart? I know I do – details fromgizmag.com: “Seth Kettleman is no stranger to high-powered vehicles. The surplus aircraft parts dealer provided the Boeing engine and technical support for the building of a jet-powered Batmobile replica, and more recently attempted to sell his own similarly-outfitted Datsun 280ZX on eBay. Now, you have the chance to buy another one of his monstrosities – a custom-built jet-powered go-kart.”

Hot Dog. Thanks to the BAMS Chase Team for sharing this photo via Facebook: “Even Guinness knows how to keep cool on these 90° days! A. #StayHydrated #HotDog #INwx.”

Enough To Turn You Into A Vegetarian. Whoever wrote this headline needs a time-out.

Showery Headaches

I want to apologize for Sunday’s forecast. It was a real stinker. “I thought you said it would be a nice day” my wife helpfully reminded me. People are always thoughtful enough to point out when we “bust” a forecast, especially on summer weekends.
“What time will it rain at my house Paul?”
Easy enough question. In fall, winter and spring precipitation is “stratiform”, big smears of steady rain or snow. But in summer precipitation is “convective”, showery, hit or miss. T-storms are 5-10 miles wide, lasting 30-45 minutes. Computer models are pretty useless until you get within about 12 hours of an event. All we can do is tell when the atmosphere is RIPE for storms.
And every now and then (like Sunday) a cluster of storms slips through the cracks altogether. It’s a humbling profession, but I try to admit when I’m wrong.
Sorry honey.
Hey, it’s June. Lower your expectations.
Climate Stories…

15 Military Leaders Say Climate Change Is A National Security Threat. Here’s an excerpt of a story from Media Matters for America and EcoWatch: “Republicans in Congress are attempting to prevent the military from purchasing alternative fuels, which Senator Inhofe (R-OK) believes are merely “perpetrating President Obama’s global warming fantasies and his war on affordable energy.” And conservative mediaarebackingtheattacks on climate change and clean energy programs, suggesting that these investments come at the expense of national security. But experts across the political spectrum agree that climate change poses a serious threat to our national security, and that transitioning to alternative energy will enhance military effectiveness. Here are 15 current and former national security officials in their own words on the threat of climate change: Thomas Fingar, former chairman of President Bush’s National Intelligence Council: “We judge global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the next 20 years.”

Ancient Climate Change Greened AntarcticaPlanet Save has the story; here’s an excerpt: “Ancient Antarctica was much warmer and wetter than was previously thought, according to a new study just released in the journal Nature Geoscience. The climate supported lush vegetation, including stunted trees, along Antarctica’s coastline. The research was done by the University of Southern California.”

Climate Change Is Simple: We Do Something Or We’re Screwed (My TEDx Video). Here’s an excerpt of a great climate change overview and video from David Roberts atGrist.com: “Back in April, The Evergreen State College invited me to speak at a TEDxevent called “Hello Climate Change: Rethinking the Unthinkable.” Videos from the event are now online. My talk was called “Climate change is simple.” I’m proud to say that I used only 17 of my allotted 15 minutes. I’ve put an annotated version of my slideshow beneath the video, linking to sources and adding thoughts. The only thing I’ll say about the video itself is that I’ve always thought these things would be better with a soundtrack. If anybody out there on the web wants to make a mashup with it, add some good beats, be my guest.”

Stop Public Handouts To Oil, Gas And Coal Companies Now. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from Robert Redford at Huffington Post: “Every year, around the world, almostone trillion dollars of subsidies is handed out to help the fossil fuel industry. Who came up with the crazy idea that the fossil fuel industry deserves our hard-earned money, no less in economic times of such harsh human consequence? We fire teachers, police and firemen in drastic budget cuts and yet, the fossil fuel industry can laugh all the way to the bank on our dime? Something doesn’t add up here. We should not be subsidizing the destruction of our planet. Fossil fuels are literally cooking our planet, polluting our air and draining our wallets. Why should we continue to reward companies to do that?

Commentary: Add Rising Sea Levels To List Of Banned Terms. Now some state officials are banning the terms: “sea level rise” and “climate change”. Really? There are some forward-thinking “leaders”. More in an Op-Ed from the Miami Herald, reposted at KansasCity.com: “It must be frustrating for our guys in Tallahassee. The governor and the legislative leadership have made it plenty clear that they have no use for this global warming stuff. Yet climate scientists keep dumping water on Florida’s future. The latest damper comes from Climate Central, which just published two papers in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research Letters, warning that due to global warming and rising sea levels, 3.7 million Americans reside in areas with an escalating risk of storm surge and coastal flooding. Half of them are in Florida. South Florida comes out looking particularly soggy.”

European Arctic Forest Expansion Could Result In Carbon Dioxide Release: Study. Here’s an excerpt from a story at phys.org: “The Arctic is getting greener as  increases in response to a warmer climate. This greater plant growth means more carbon is stored in the increasing biomass, so it was previously thought the greening would result in more carbon dioxide being taken up from the atmosphere, thus helping to reduce the rate of global warming. However, research published in Nature Climate Change, shows that, by stimulating decomposition rates in soils, the expansion of forest into tundra in arctic Sweden could result in the release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.” (AP Photo/John McConnico, File).

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ABOUT ME

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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 startribune.com/weather And if you’re on Twitter, you’ll find me @pdouglasweather
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