WeatherNation Blog

India Power Outage, Severe Storms, Extreme Heat and Monsoonal Flooding

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Thanks to our Facebook friend Brad Birkholz for this picture out of Wisconsin from Monday evening… BEAUTIFUL!

Colorful sunset mummatus clouds following a hail storm as seen near the Valders area in Wisconsin Monday evening.”

Crazy Colorado Hail

Thanks to Copper Gerrard for this video out of Colorado Springs, CO showing a hail storm yesterday!

Listen to sound of the hail in the video HERE:

Freaky Clouds over Florida

Thanks to Scott Young AKA @ESYtiger for this picture out of Panama City Beach, FL. These clouds look like unsettled weather is on the way. In fact, there were reports of Power Lines down in Panama City, FL.

Great Lakes From Space

From the vantage point of the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts observe many spectacular phenomena, including aurora, noctilucent clouds, airglow, and sunglint on Earth’s water bodies. Sunglint is light reflected off of a water surface towards the observer, such that it creates the appearance of a mirror-like surface.

If the viewing and lighting conditions are ideal, that mirror-like surface can extend over very large areas, such as the entire surface of Lake Ontario (approximately 18,960 square kilometers). This astronaut photograph was taken while the ISS was located over a point to the southeast of Nova Scotia, approximately 1,200 kilometers (740 miles) ground distance from the centerpoint of the image. Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, the Finger Lakes of New York, and numerous other bodies of water appear brilliantly lit by sunglint. To the west, Lake Erie is also highlighted by sunglint, but less light is being reflected towards the astronaut observer, resulting in a duller appearance.”

(Photo Courtesy: NASA’s Earth Observatory)

One of the Biggest Power Outage in the World’s History

(CBS/AP) NEW DELHI – India’s energy crisis spread over half the country Tuesday when three of its electricity grids collapsed, leaving some 670 million people without power in one of the world’s biggest-ever blackouts.

The power failure has raised serious concerns about India’s outdated infrastructure and the government’s inability to meet an insatiable appetite for energy as the country aspires to become a regional economic superpower.

An off-duty flight attendant from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines browses a dark shop in Janpath Market, a popular tourist shopping area, during a power outage in New Delhi, July 31, 2012. (Getty)

Read more from

Looks at this tweet and picture from @russian_market! It shows the difference between a ‘normal’ night vs. a dark night over India.

Mt. Evans Colorado Tornado

Take a look at the incredible tornado image below courtesy Facebook page:

Best pic of the Mt. Evans, Colorado, Tornado (credit: Karen Goodwin) #cowx

Saturday Tornado Report From Colorado

Here are the official reports:



More Mt. Evans Tornado Pictures

Take a look at these neat pictures of the Mt. Evans tornado shared by the:

National Weather Service out of Denver/Boulder Colorado on their Facebook page:

Large Wisconsin Hail

Thanks to Laura Albers for this picture out of Howard, WI. Thunderstorms on Monday afternoon created updrafts strong enough to produce tennis-ball sized hail.

Today’s Severe Weather Outlook

Today’s severe weather outlook looks a little dicey on to outer edge of some extreme heat yet again setting up in the central part of the country. Areas highlighted in yellow below are considered to be in a SLIGHT RISK where severe weather may be more likely. Hail and high winds will be the primary threat.

Flash Flood Potential

Monsoon season continues in the Southwest with pockets of heavy rain. In fact, the National Weather Service continue Flash Flood Watches for areas highlighted in green below. The potential of heavy rain, flash flooding and minor debris flows can’t be ruled out in these areas.

Flooding in Arizona

Thanks to Sara Schlueter Hersha for this picture out of Arizona where locally heavy rainfall from monsoonal thunderstorms was found on this appropriately named street of River Road.

Additional Rainfall

NOAA’s HPC 5 day rainfall forecast suggests nearly 2″ of rain in isolated spots in the Southwest through AM Sunday. The other thing to note is the arc-like shape to the precipitation as it curls around the dome of heat in the south central part of the country. Thunderstorms in these areas will also be capable of producing locally heavy downpours.

More Heat

The National Weather Service continues heat headlines across the Deep South with heat index values topping the century mark into the afternoon hours. Dangerous heat, unfortunately, looks to stick around for much of the week and will even bubble north a bit through the middle and end of the week. I expect to see these headlines expanding north a bit during that time frame.

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

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

Stubborn Drought Intensifies As More Records Are Set

August Blue Moon. There are two full moons in August, Wednesday night, again August 30 – a “blue moon”.


1 tornado so far this year in Wisconsin (near Wausau on May 24, a weak EF-0). Wisconsin should have seen 26 tornadoes as of July 31.

33 tornadoes reported across Minnesota in 2012, but no touchdowns in or near the Twin Cities. Details below.


35 days above 90 F. so far at Chicago O’Hare, 36 90+ days at Midway. According to WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling Chicago sees an average of 17 days above 90 every summer season.

28 days above 90 at Madison, Wisconsin.


30 Day Percent Of Normal Precipitation. This NOAA map is useful to point out why farmers over southern and southwestern Minnesota are so worried about the drought. Rainfall since June 30 has been 5-25% of normal from Rochester and Albert Lea west to Worthington and Granite Falls, another pocket of very dry weather over the Red River Valley. In contrast, rainfall in the immediate metro has been close to normal over the last 30 days, 1.5 times more than average from near Detroit Lakes to Brainerd, just as wet from International Falls to the Boundary Waters.


Will This Be The Hottest Summer On Record? Here’s an excerpt (focused on Madison, Wisconsin) from The Weather Guys: “Through the end of the day on July 24, Madison had had 28 days with high temperatures at or above 90 degrees. The all-time record number of such days is 40 recorded in 1955 (two were in June, 19 were in July, 15 were in August and four were in September that year). In the last 41 years, only six summers (1975, 1976, 1983, 1988, 1995 and 2012) have had 20 or more such days. Of the five such summers before this one, the number of days at or above 90 degrees after July 31 was seven, 10, six, 16, and 10, respectively.”

Photo credit above: ”Matt Winker walks on what used to be a field of wheat that is now parched, July 12, 2012, on the Winker farm in Belgium, Wisconsin. The drought has presented a unique opportunity for Winkers to be proactive, which Matt has decided to embrace.” (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT)

Drought Holding Steady In Areas Already Affected. No significant improvement is on tap from the Ohio Valley to the Central and Southern Plains, struggling through the worst drought since 1988 – possible since the mid 1930 Dust Bowl years. Details and a YouTube video from USDA: “USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey says there will be no short term weather relief for most drought stricken areas.”


33 Minnesota Tornadoes So Far In 2012. All those red dots are tornado touchdowns since January 1; no tornadoes reported east of a line from Willmar to Glencoe, which is a bit unusual. Not a single tornado in or near the Twin Cities metro area. Why? It’s been too hot, frontal boundaries (and subsequent low-level wind shear) pushed into central Canada. I’m not complaining. Map courtesy of SPC.


Jacksonville Waterspout. Numerous waterspouts (weak tornadoes forming over warm water, the result of intense T-storm updrafts) have been spotted in recent days from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the Florida Panhandle. Here’s more from the Jacksonville NWS, via Facebook: “Taken around 1:30pm 7/30/2012 St. Simons Island – Brunswick GA, near McKinnon Airport.”


Second Highest Tornado Touchdown On Record. It’s official. The Denver/Boulder office of the NWS confirms the tornado that touched down over the weekend on Mt. Evans was a record-setter. Details via Facebook: “Confirmed tornado touched down at 2:51 PM Saturday, July 28 near Mt. Evans, Colorado. The estimated elevation where this tornado touched down was 11,900 feet. This would make this tornado the 2nd highest ever recorded in the U.S.
Photo credit above: Sheila Gavins.

CB. A classic cumulonimbus captured over Bakersfield, Vermont by the Burlington office of the National Weather Service.


Yellowstone Closes Rivers To Fishing. Heat and drought is spreading west, now impacting rivers with Yellowstone National Park. Details from “Starting Wednesday, August 1, Yellowstone will implement some temporary fishing closures.

The following waterways will be closed to all fishing:

• Gibbon River below Gibbon Falls
• Firehole River below Keppler Cascades
• Madison River

Hot air temperatures, limited rainfall, runoff from thermal features, and below average stream flows have all resulted in high water temperatures in these rivers. Water temperatures in the Gibbon River have been above 73 degrees F most of the past two weeks, with water temperatures in the Firehole River above 78 degrees F.”

Hurricane/Typhoon Radar Loops Since 2001. This is an amazing link – Doppler radar loops showing all significant hurricanes and Pacific typhoon landfalls since 2001: “These loops were all created by me, and anyone may feel free to link to or use them, but I’d appreciate if credit is given (Brian McNoldy, Univ of Miami). Ground-based radar imagery of tropical cyclones is useful in studying the precipitation structure in the eyewall and spiral bands prior to landfall, but then also useful to study possible terrain effects and the influence of landfall on the TC structure. The larger loops might be choppy on machines with less memory.

* radar loop above from Hurricane Katrina from August 28-29, 2005; data from NOAA in New Orleans. Amazing.


Remarkable Cloud Photos. Thanks to meteorologist Jason Parkin in Des Moines for forwarding me a line from, with some of the most spectacular cloud photos I’ve ever seen in one place. How many of these can you name? From top left to bottom right: ”Asperatus, Shelf Cloud, Lenticular Arcs and Lenticularis”.


Flooded North Korea Hit By More Torrential Rain. Here’s an excerpt of an update from Reuters: “Widespread flooding in North Korea appeared to worsen on Monday after 24 hours of torrential rain hit the impoverished state which even in times of good harvest is unable to feed itself. The floods follow a period of drought and are certain to lift food prices which have been rising sharply. According to defectors contacted by Reuters in neighbouring South Korea, rice prices have already risen beyond the reach of ordinary households.”

Photo credit above: “Road posts are submerged in a flooded street in Anju City, South Phyongan Province, North Korea, Monday, July 30, 2012. More heavy rain has pounded North Korea, flooding buildings and farmland and forcing stranded people and their livestock to take shelters atop rooftops.” (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

Olympic Viewers Have A New Reason To Complain, And The Means To Do It. Maybe I’m a sap, but I think NBC is doing a pretty good job overall. Look, if you really want to see events live you can – on your computer or tablet. I’m fine with being “surprised” during primetime. Yes, it’s hard keeping all the people happy all the time. The tape-delay issue is creating some serious viewer angst, who are taking to Twitter and FB to vent. The New York Times takes a look – here’s an excerpt: “NBC might have believed that streaming all the sports live from the London Games would have inoculated it from criticism of its Olympic broadcasting policy. The past animosity rested on tape-delaying certain marquee sports into prime time. But now Twitter has turned into a fiery digital soapbox against NBC, as its users have merged their resentment over tape delay with problems viewing the live streams. The outrage has been distilled, simply, into #nbcfail. It is difficult for now to determine if #nbcfail represents a tiny minority or is a sampling of a widespread problem.”


BMW Unveils The C Evolution Electric Scooter. No gas, 62 miles on a single charge? Details from “BMW Motorrad has been busying itself perfecting an electric scooter design for some time now and, following the early prototype E Scooter we first reported on last year, and the more fully formed Concept e model which popped up a few months later, the company has now unveiled a new “near-production” electric scooter named the BMW C evolution which boasts a reported 100 kilometers (62 miles) range from one full charge and some impressive styling to match.”


Augmented Reality Glasses Perform Real-Time Language Translation. Here’s another potentially radical innovation, courtesy of “Inspired by the Google’s Project Glass, computer programmer Will Powell has built a prototype real-time translation system that listens to speech, translates it into one of 37 languages, and then displays the resulting text as subtitles directly onto the user’s glasses. In a nutshell, here’s how it all works. A Bluetooth microphone picks up the audio signal and connects to a smartphone or tablet to provide a clean, noise-cancelled audio feed. The signal is then sent to the Microsoft Translator service, which detects the foreign language and transcribes it into the target language of choice. Finally, the translated text is displayed on the lower half of the glasses – effectively providing real-time subtitles for a conversation in a foreign language.”

Drought Bad. Water Good. Here’s a “story” from The Onion. I’m not sure but I suspect it’s (very) tongue in cheek: “KANSAS CITY, MO—Sources nationwide are confirming this week that the current drought is bad and that water is very good. “We don’t like the drought,” local farmer Dan Rickey told reporters. “We like water.” At press time, sources are confirming that the drought is still happening and that it’s bad.”

A Small Silver Lining

I saw a lake temperature of 84 F. on Lake Minnetonka Saturday. July is 6.4 F. warmer than average, so I’m not surprised. Chiggers have become a big nuisance up at the cabin, due to unusual warmth.

But there’s an upside: only 1 tornado so far in Wisconsin (where closer to 26 should have touched down). No metro tornadoes, but 33 (mostly small) tornadoes over far southern & western MN. Why? Its been too hot. Tornadoes need large temperature extremes, frontal boundaries and low level wind shear (rapidly changing speed/direction with altitude). With a heat-pump high stalled over the Midwest since late June we haven’t had the dynamics for twisters. No complaints here.

Less quality time in the basement, curled up in the fetal position.

The National Weather Service is upgrading to “dual polarization” Doppler August 20, making it easier to detect tornadoes, and distinguish between rain, snow and ice. The upgrade may take 2 weeks. I’ll be holding my breath. No severe storms, please!

A quiet Tuesday gives way to 93-98 F tomorrow; T-storms late Wednesday, again Saturday. A cooler front treats us to a glorious Sunday, but 90s return next week.

Summer isn’t nearly done with us just yet.

Climate Stories…


Want To Know Whether The Climate Has Warmed? Ask The Trees. Here’s an excerpt of an MPR article from Lee Frelich, Director of The University of Minnesota Center for Forest Ecology: “This summer’s heat wave, following the warmest winter on record and an exceptionally early spring, makes one wonder if we have reached the point where effects of global warming can be felt and seen on the landscape. I think so. We have had warm winters and summer heat waves before. Warm and cool periods, dry and wet periods have always occurred and will continue to come and go. However, as time goes on they are superimposed on a systematic rise in temperature caused by the accumulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere…. A lack of winter cold — January minimum temperatures in northern Minnesota have risen 8 degrees in the last 30 years — give the green light to maple and basswood to move north into territory where they would previously have been killed by extreme cold.”

Photo credit above: “Lee Frelich: It is an interesting time to be a forest ecologist in Minnesota.” (Photo courtesy of Paul Jost)

What Evidence Will It Take To Convince Climate Skeptics? Here’s an excerpt from a story at The Guardian: “So, that’s it then. The climate wars are over. Climate skeptics have accepted the main tenets of climate science – that the world is warming and that humans are largely to blame – and we can all now get on to debating the real issue at hand: what, if anything, do we do about it? If only. Yesterday’s announcement by Prof Richard Muller that, as a result of his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (Best) project’s research, he had undergone a “total turnaround” in his views on climate science and now accepted that the Earth’s land has warmed by 1.5C over the past 250 years and that “humans are almost entirely the cause”, might be seen by many as a watershed moment in this long, often bitter debate. But not, it would appear, for climate sceptics – the very people he designed his project to please.”

Graphic credit above: “The annual and decadal land surface temperature from the BerkeleyEarth average, compared to a linear combination of volcanic sulfate emissions and the natural logarithm of CO2.” Photograph: BerkeleyEarth.

So Called Blockbuster Climate Change Studies Prove Little. I give physicist Richard Muller, lead author of the “BEST” study, credit for following the scientific method, and following the data, wherever it leads. He also proved that it’s OK to change your mind. My concern: some professional climate deniers have backed themselves into a corner, to the point where they feel like they can’t do a 180 and agree that AGW is real. They cherrypick on the “data” that supports their conspiracy-theory-of-the-week. Say what you will about Dr. Muller, but at least he had the courage of his convictions – in spite of being partially funded by the Koch brothers, he let the chips fall where they may and in the end was true to the science.  Capital Weather Gang meteorologist Jason Samenow weighs in with his own perspective of the new “Muller/Berkeley” research findings and a (skeptical) study of station siting from WUWT’s Anthony Watts in a post; here’s an excerpt: “Over the weekend, two groups released so-called “game-changing” climate change studies. The first, led by “converted skeptic” University of California-Berkeley professor Richard Muller, claims almost all of the warming observed in modern times is due to human activities. The second, led by blogger Anthony Watts, in an apparent attempt to diminish the impact of the Muller paper, argues warming in the U.S. since 1979 is about half the amount calculated by NOAA. Both studies staged high-profile releases and represent concerted efforts to influence public perception about what we know about climate science. But neither has been published in a peer-reviewed publication and there is cause to question their legitimacy.”

Have The Koch Brothers Changed Their Minds About Climate Change? Here’s an excerpt from an article at U.S. News & World Report: “…University of California-Berkeley Physics professor Richard A. Muller, who led the new study, told Whispers that he believes the Koch brothers really do “want to get the science clarified.” “People think they can look into the minds of Charles and David Koch,” says Muller, who himself was previously a climate change denier. “But I have had conversations with them, where they are interested in the science and the proof, so that these issues [on climate change] would be resolved.”


Climate Change Skeptics Unwarmed By Scientist’s Reassessment Of Cold Facts. Here’s a blurb from The Sydney Morning Herald: “AUSTRALIA’S climate change sceptic community remains defiant following the self-described “conversion” of prominent sceptic scientist Richard Muller, who had led a vast international research effort to debunk global warming science. Professor Muller’s team, partly funded by US fossil fuel interests, has now made public its findings and concluded that human emissions are in fact driving climate change — at a slightly faster rate than that asserted by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Professor Muller said the results had prompted a “total turnaround” in his views. “We were not expecting this, but as scientists, it is our duty to let the evidence change our minds.”

Energy Week Ahead: Forecast Calls For Hot Climate-Change Debate. Here’s an excerpt from Bloomberg “Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe will get a chance to cross-examine perpetrators of what he dubbed “The Greatest Hoax” this week, as a Senate panel takes on the science of climate change. Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, published a book by that name this year, saying the scientific theory of global warming is a conspiracy to increase government regulation of business and the economy. Carbon-dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution have led to a warming of the earth’s temperature, which threatens to cause extreme weather, drought and coastal flooding, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.”



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

Waterspouts, Monsoon in the Southwest, and Haboobs

Monday, July 30th, 2012

It was an active morning on the eastern tip of North Carolina. Waterspouts formed and moved inland, creating two tornado reports just south of Kill Devil Hills, NC. The picture below is from Meteorologist Sean Sublette who snapped this from Roanoke Sound, NC

Here’s another picture from @SamiLeigh17 out at Nags Head, NC

Monday Tornado Reports From North Carolina

Here are the two tornado reports from North Carolina:



AZ Dust Storms

Thanks to Merry Grace for the picture below of a Dust Storm out of Maricopa, AZ. Merry says welcome Maricopa, AZ during a Dust storm! This is the result of a monsoonal thunderstorm as outflow winds from the storm kicks up desert dust.

See video of the dust storm (Haboob) from the AP HERE:

More Monsoonal Moisture

An area of high pressure in the middle part of the country continues to bring monsoonal moisture into the Southwest with scattered showers and storms. Some of the rain may be heavy at times with the potential of some flooding rain.

Southwest Storms

Thanks to AZmonsoon100 for the video below of some pretty vivid AZ lightning.

See the full video HERE:

Flash Flood Potential

The National Weather Service continues flash flood watches for areas highlighted in green below. Areas of heavy rain, flooding and minor debris flows may be possible.

Heavy Rain Possible

NOAA’s HPC 3 day rainfall forecast has nearly 2″ of rain possible in parts of the Southwest due to Monsoon thunderstorms. Keep in mind that this rain is going to be very spotty, not all locations will get this heavy of rain.

Keep It Coming!

The good news is that we need the rain here in the Southwest. There are several locations in a drought, so this rain is good! The graphic below suggests how much rain is needed to get back to normal.

More Heat This Week

The National Weather Service continues heat related warnings and advisories through the early week as heat index values are expected to surpass the century mark.

Severe Thunderstorm Threat Today

The SPC has a SLIGHT RISK of severe thunderstorms across parts of the Great Lakes and the Lower Mississippi Valley today. Hail and high winds would be the primary threat along with heavy rain.

Olympics Continue

Congrats to all the athletes and winners so far! Here’s a funny image from Biscayne Bay National Park’s Facebook page for sharing this… I know I got a good laugh out of it, hope you do too. Much needed on a Monday :)

In the 10 meter platform synchronized diving competition today at the London Olympics, Team USA is hoping for a medal in the duo of Nick McCrory and David Boudia. For Team Biscayne, diving is only occasionally synchronized in the brown pelicans! Of course, pelicans are diving for fish, not medals, and they can start their dives from 30 meters, not 10, plunging into a school of fish with an open beak and tucked wings. As the bird drains its pouch of water, the fish are strained out, and dinner is served! (GAB)”

Thanks for checking in on this Monday, have a great rest of your week!

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

Excessive Heat To Spill Over Into August

A Whiff of Weekend Relief. The strongest push of Canadian air since early June is forecast to arrive Saturday as winds swing around to the northwest, pulling slightly cooler, drier air south of the border. By Sunday the predicted heat index (above) will drop into the low 70s over the northern half of Minnesota, a welcome push of free A/C (one that will last about 48 hours, give or take).


$61 million. Amount of money the Koch brothers have allegedly given to groups denying climate science since 1997. Source: Greenpeace.


The evidence is solid and accumulating rapidly. Humanity is putting itself at increasing peril through human-induced climate change. As a global community, we will need to move rapidly and resolutely in the coming quarter-century from an economy based on fossil-fuels to one based on new, cutting-edge, low-carbon energy technologies.” – Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, in an article at; details below.


26 days above 90 F. at Indianapolis, a new record. Old record set in 1901.


Converted Skeptic. “Call me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified scientific issues that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Now, after organizing an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I’ve concluded that global warming is real, that the prior estimates of the rate were correct, and that cause is human….Our results show that the average temperature of the Earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, and one and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase is due to the human emission of greenhouse gases.”

- excerpt of a New York Times Op-Ed from former climate skeptic, Richard Muller, lead author of the “BEST” (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature) project. Details from The New York Times below.

Nagging Warm Bias. Although NOAA CPC’s 6-10 Day temperature outlook shows the worst of the heat shifting across the Plains into the Rockies, the extended outlook for August (upper right) shows a warm bias for much of the USA, the center of the heat forecast over the Middle Mississippi Valley and the Ohio Valley, complicating any recovery from the drought for much of the Corn Belt.


Withering Drought. Here’s a post from the Hastings, Nebraska office of the National Weather Service: “Where’s the water for swimming in the Platte?


Expanding Drought. Here’s an entry from the Pleasant Hills, Missouri office of the NWS, via Facebook: “Curious how the drought has progressed since early June? We’ve constructed a “drought progress map” focused on changes to the drought status from June 5th through the latest drought monitor update on July 24.”


5-Day Rainfall Outlook. The drought continues to worsen over the Central Plains; little rain expected through Saturday of this week. Monsoon rains soak Arizona, heavy showers and T-storms over the southeastern USA, the approach of slightly cooler air sparking some 1/2 to 2″ amounts over the Upper Midwest by late week. Map: NOAA HPC.
* a tornado at 11,900 feet above sea level? has the story of a Colorado hiker/photographer who captured the “second highest” tornado in U.S. history.
The Big (Unsettled) Apple. Thanks to @roland99 for sending in a photo of a turbulent sky over Manhattan.
Haboob Warming. Jodi Daly captured the photo (upper left) as a haboob, a massing cloud of dust and sand triggered by T-storm outflow boundaries swept across Tolleson, Arizona. Upper right: Loren Ziegler snapped a photo as the rolling cloud of sand pushed into metro Phoenix.

Beetle Invasion From Space. Milder winters have allowed bark beetles to survive, and decimate millions of acres of forestland out west; here’s an excerpt of a story from NASA’s Earth Observatory: “A single pine bark beetle is about the size of a grain of rice. But when the beetle population swells, it can have a major impact on forest health. And that’s exactly what has been happening across the Rocky Mountains over the past decade. In Colorado, severe beetle infestations showed up in lodgepole pine forests about 50 miles west of Boulder and Fort Collins around 2000. Over time, the affected area grew so that by 2011 the infestation had spread east to ponderosa pine forests that were much closer to the two cities. (A map showing the progression between 1998 and 2011 is available here). The beetle epidemic caused so many trees to die-off that the impacts are visible from space. The Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5 acquired these images of lodgepole pine forests near Grand Lake, Colorado on September 11, 2005, and September 28, 2011—before and after a severe infestation led to die-off of the tree canopy.”

Why The London Olympics Is The First Real-Time Games. You have to give NBC Universal credit for taking a calculated risk (making all the events available in real-time on the web – not saving everything for taped, after-the-fact broadcast in prime time hours later. Here’s an excerpt from “Whether London 2012 is the first “social” Games has sparked much debate in news media and on the social web. While compelling arguments have been made for both sides, social media’s role in the Olympics isn’t the most exciting conversation about this year’s competition. It’s about timing. The London 2012 Olympics are undoubtedly the first real-time Games. It differs from any other Olympic event in how fans and viewers can experience all competitions while they’re taking place. Though Friday’s Opening Ceremonies weren’t broadcast live in the United States, all 32 sporting events will be live streamed for the first time ever.”

UK Ensemble Olympic Showcase. The U.K. Met Office has created some special high-res models and graphics showing hour-by-hour rain chances for the Olympic Games in London. More details: “An animated probabilistic rainfall forecast. The forecast spans a 30 hour period and is divided into hourly steps. Each frame shows the chance that rain (greater than 0.2 mm/h) will fall sometime within a 1 hour time window displayed on the image. No information is provided on the duration of rainfall — it could last for the full hour or just a few minutes. The product giving the chance of more than 30 minutes of rain in an hour should be used to find out if it is likely to be mostly wet or not.”

Olympics Weather: Cool & Soggy. Click here to see the latest extended forecast for London from Ham Weather. Highs will be in the 60s through Friday with frequent showers, possible thunder. Typical weather for Great Britain.

Want To Save Money? Move Downtown. It may be counterintuitive, but there’s some sound logic to this. Here’s an excerpt from “If you want to save money these days, you have to move into the city. Crazy, but true. No wonder McKinsey & Co., the strategy consultant, recently produced a report predicting a new golden age for the American city. When I was growing up, the story of the American city was a sad one. The middle class had fled to the suburbs. Downtown was dying. But based on my math, people are going to be moving back. Why? Three reasons: Interest rates. Gas prices. And the Internet. Let me explain.”

17 Funniest Descriptions Of Interview Subjects The News Has Ever Broadcast. Yes, these Chyron fonts (character generators) actually showed up on the Boob Tube, during local TV newscasts. If you need a laugh click over to


Soggy Medals

My favorite Olympic events? Umbrella-Wrestling and Synchronized Puddle-Jumping. Track and Field participants may need fins & scuba gear as skies over London unload torrents of cool, ill-timed rain.

My earnest suggestion is still falling on deaf, IOC ears. “Every Olympic event should include one fan pulled from the stands, to provide some perspective.”

I’d watch that.

Shocking news: a nearly perpetual heat wave centered over Kansas City expands north again this week, although it won’t be as withering as previous hot spells. T-storms flare up late Wednesday, and linger into early Saturday, when slightly cooler air pushes south.

Yes 80-85 F now qualifies as “relief”.

The fairly reliable ECMWF model shows another run of mid-90s next week; NOAA CPC predicts a warmer-than-average August.

We’ve always had heat waves, drought & downpours. But there’s a growing body of evidence that these extremes are becoming more extreme; coming more frequently.

Today’s climate stories (below) include a new study from former climate skeptic, Richard Muller. The great irony: Koch-money funded the research, which essentially confirms what climate scientists predicted 30 years ago.

It’s a Homer Simpson moment.


Climate Change Study Forces Skeptical Scientists To Change Minds. More on the Muller “conversion” and the latest “BEST” results from The Guardian; here’s an excerpt: “The Earth’s land has warmed by 1.5C over the past 250 years and “humans are almost entirely the cause”, according to a scientific study set up to address climate change sceptics’ concerns about whether human-induced global warming is occurring. Prof Richard Muller, a physicist and climate change sceptic who founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (Best) project, said he was surprised by the findings. “We were not expecting this, but as scientists, it is our duty to let the evidence change our minds.” He added that he now considers himself a “converted sceptic” and his views had undergone a “total turnaround” in a short space of time.”

Photo credit above: ”Prof Richard Muller considers himself a converted sceptic following the study’s surprise results.” Photograph: Dan Tuffs for the Guardian.

Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Results. This new reanalysis of surface stations incorporated 1.6 billion temperature records from 16 preexisting data archives. More details from the Berkeley site: “Berkeley Earth has just released analysis of land-surface temperature records going back 250 years, about 100 years further than previous studies. The analysis shows that the rise in average world land temperature globe is approximately 1.5 degrees C in the past 250 years, and about 0.9 degrees in the past 50 years.”

Global Temperature Trends. North Ameria is frying this summer, but the U.K. is experiencing one of the coolest summers in decades. Keeping a global perspective is challenging, but essential. Here is more information from Columbia University: “(Above) are maps of the mean surface temperature anomaly for the past month, the past three months, and the past 12 months. Regional weather patterns, apparent on the monthly time scale, tend to disappear in averages over longer time scales. In the chart in the lower right we show the 12-month running means of the global land-ocean temperature anomalies.”

No, Warming “Didnt’ Stop In 1998″. Map above from Columbia University: “The figure (above) shows 60-month (5-year) and 132-month (11-year to minimize the effect of the solar cycle) running means of the surface temperature deviation from the 1951-1980 mean. This graph makes clear that global warming is continuing — it did not stop in 1998. The year 1998 was remarkably warm relative to the underlying trend line (see updated Figure 12 of “Storms”), in association with the El Nino” of the century (updated Figure 13). But the underlying global temperature has continued to rise, despite the fact that solar irradiance for the past few years has been stuck in the deepest solar minimum in the period of satellite data (updated Figure 11).”

“Our Summer Of Climate Truth”. Here’s an excerpt of a post from Dr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, economics professor and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, at “…The past couple of years have brought a shocking number of extreme events all over the planet. In many cases, short-run natural factors rather than human activity played a role. During 2011, for example, La Niña conditions prevailed in the Pacific Ocean. This means that especially warm water was concentrated near Southeast Asia while colder water was concentrated near Peru. This temporary condition caused many short-term changes in rainfall and temperature patterns, leading, for example, to heavy floods in Thailand. Yet, even after carefully controlling for such natural year-to-year shifts, scientists are also finding that several recent disasters likely reflect human-caused climate change as well. For example, human-caused warming of the Indian Ocean probably played a role in the 2011 severe drought in the Horn of Africa. The current U.S. mega-drought probably reflects a mix of natural causes, including La Niña, and a massive heat wave intensified by human-caused climate change.”

New Global Temperature Reanalysis Confirms Warming; Blames CO2. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from a (former) climate skeptic, Richard Muller at The New York TimesRichard Muller, the head of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, will publish an op/ed next week in the New York Times summarizing his group’s findings with regard to global temperature trends. From a copy of the op/ed, Converted Skeptic, circulating on the web: CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified scientific issues that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Now, after organizing an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I’ve concluded that global warming is real, that the prior estimates of the rate were correct, and that cause is human.”
Bombshell: Koch-Funded Study Finds “Global Warming Is Real”, “On The High End” And “Essentially All” Due To Carbon Pollution. An excerpt from Joe Romm at Think Progress: “…Yes, yes, I know, the finding itself is “dog bites man.” What makes this “man bites dog” is that Muller has been a skeptic of climate science, and the single biggest funder of this study is the “Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($150,000).” The Kochs are the leading funder of climate disinformation in the world!

It gets better:

Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.

These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations group that defines the scientific and diplomatic consensus on global warming.”

Graphic credit above: “The decadal land-surface average temperature using a 10-year moving average of surface temperatures over land. Anomalies are relative to the Jan 1950 – December 1979 mean. The grey band indicates 95% statistical and spatial uncertainty interval.” A Koch-funded reanalysis of 1.6 billion temperature reports finds that “essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases.”




Climate Change Could Erode Ozone Layer Over U.S. Here’s an excerpt from a blog at “For the past 25 years, it seemed that we’d pretty much solved the ozone problem. In the 1970s and 80s, people around the world grew increasingly alarmed as research revealed that chemicals we were producing—such as CFCs, used in refrigeration— had started destroying the crucial ozone layer, high up in the atmopshere, that protects us from the sun’s harmful UV radiation. In response, world governments came together to sign the Montreal Protocol in 1987, which phased out the production of ozone-depleting chemicals. The concentration of these chemicals in the atmosphere leveled off within a decade. Yesterday, though, Harvard scientists hit us with some bad news: It looks as if climate change could actually cause the depletion of the ozone layer to resume on a wide scale, with grim implications for the United States.”

Image credit above: “Climate change could produce an ozone hole over the U.S. similar to the one observed over Antarctica, above, in 2006.” Image via NASA.

Following The Isotopes Leads Scientists To Useful Climate Change Data. Here’s a snippet of an article at The Prairie Star: “Rebecca Phillips is working this summer in the blooming alfalfa fields at the ARS-Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory south of Mandan, N.D., measuring trace gases that have been associated with climate change. The ARS plant physiologist has been conducting this work for the past few years and has collected useful data for producers. Phillips said her goal in studying these gases is to give producers information on how they can be productive and profitable using the best conservation management practices that reduce gas emissions.”

Photo credit above: “Rebecca Phillips, plant pathologist at ARS-Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, works out in the fields in Australia studying carbon fluxes with other scientists.”


Readers Jump Into The Climate Fray. Here’s an excerpt from an interesting article at The New York Times (focused on reader response to a series of recent NYT article on climate change posing new risks to aging infrastructure and how extreme storms and higher water vapor levels may be impacting Earth’s ozone layer): “…Other readers e-mailed directly with their thoughts. Rick Eisenstat, a former Navy officer, weighed in on the question of whether climate change presents a real and present danger to the United States and the world. “In fact,” Mr. Eisenstat wrote, “the military has already answered that it is. This determination is often absent from the national debate but the impact it can have on it — and the country at large — is significant.” He said the American military was leading the way in energy conservation efforts to save money and reduce threats to supply lines. These efforts are having a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions, said Mr. Eisenstat, now a law student at Tulane University.”



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


Outlooks Shows Hot, Dry Weather Continuing

Still Dry

Remaining hot and dry in the Central Plains today.  Not much additional rain expected throughout the next couple of days and that could lead an entry in the record books for some cities in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Arkansas.

Photo From: CNN

US National Weather Service Omaha/Valley Nebraska:  “If we don’t get any more rain in the month of July, this would be the driest July on record at Norfolk (0″ of rain this month!) and tied for the driest month ever (with 8 other months). It also would be the driest July ever at Omaha (0.01″ of rain this month) and tied for sixth driest month ever (with one other month). In Lincoln, it would be the second driest July ever (0.31″ of rain this month).”

Still Hot (And Getting Warmer!)

Perhaps a record breaking high?  At least one meteorologist in the Little Rock, AR area thinks that might be possible.

And another tweet from the NWS in Tulsa:

“Tulsa’s overnight low of 86 this morning was the second warmest ever for July and ties several other days for second warmest ever!”

Highs today around the region:

Still extremely warm on Monday. Highs tomorrow:

Longer term outlooks indicate that temperatures will continue to remain warmer than average.  Orange indicates probability of  average temperatures.

Not much hope for wet weather either throughout the next few weeks. Outlooks indicates probability of rain above or below average amounts of precipitation throughout the next 2 weeks.  Brown indicates below average rainfall. While the South Central US stays dry, excess rain possible in the Mid Atlantic region.

Staying Cool

On average there are more heat related deaths each year in the United States then combination of deaths relating to floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightening.  So it is definitely a situation that should be taken seriously.  Consider these suggestions for the National Weather Service in Norman, OK:

An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued by the NWS:



Storm Potential

After several days of storms along the East Coast including heavy rain and wind damage, the severe threat for today is shifting to the Northern Plains. Also there is a severe chance from Cedar Rapids, IA down to the St. Louis area.

Watching for tornadoes, hail and strong wind gusts within the slight risk areas for today.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Meteorologist Gretchen Mishek