All I want for Christmas is some time away from my laptop, quality time disconnected from The Matrix. That, and an emergency generator would be nice.
Yesterday I spoke to utility executives at The Midwest Energy Association, where I talked about weather & climate trends. Extreme weather has triggered a 10-fold increase in electric grid incidents since 1992 across the USA. Keeping the lights on has become even more challenging. Take nothing for granted.
That, and an update on the sun, at the peak of the solar cycle. It's been very quiet as of late, but in any given decade there's a 12 percent risk of an X-class solar flare capable of bringing down parts of the power grid. Have a nice day!
This is my cue to turn to the sports page.
No weather-gotchas lurking out there anytime soon close to home, although a morning thundershower may jolt you from your stupor. Behind this warm front highs top 80F by late afternoon. A September summer serenade. Soak it up because a fresh push of 60s arrive via Canadian Air Mail Friday & Saturday; weekend lows dipping into the 40s.
Fresh air - low humidity - fewer bugs. Now if we can just get a 2-3 day soaking rainstorm to replenish soil moisture we'll be in great shape!
* graph above courtesy of The Energy Information Administration, U.S Global Change Research Program.
Ripe For Scattered Showers and T-showers. Yesterday's 18Z NAM is printing out half an inch of rain this morning, another inch of rain early Thursday, which seems aggressive, but theoretically possible. The arrival of much warmer, 80-degree air sets off a few showers and T-showers this morning; the arrival of a cooler front sparks more thunder tomorrow - then dry weather prevails Friday into much of Monday.
Partial Reprieve For Colorado. The 4 km. NAM model from NOAA shows scattered T-storms, mainly over the Rockies, but light to moderate showers can't be ruled out along the Front Range, including hard-hit communities from Boulder to Lyons and Longmont, Colorado. The soggy remains of "Ingrid" will spike showers and T-storms over Texas, while a surge of warmer air triggers scattered T-storms over the Midwest and Great Lakes over the next 36 hours. Animation: Ham Weather.
Cool Weekend Amidst An Otherwise Mild Bias. No more 90s in sight - no frost either. After peaking at or above 80F today a cool front ushers a real taste of September into MSP by late week; highs holding in the 60s Friday and Saturday, possibly reaching 70 Sunday before surging well into the 70s next week. Dew points peak around 70F tomorrow, very sticky, before dropping into the 30s and 40s by late week. Graphic: Weatherspark.
3-Day Inundation A 1 In 1,000 Year Event. For the record, Minnesota has experienced four 1 in 1,000 year flash floods since 2004, according to the Minnesota Climate Office, 3 of them in southern Minnesota, the massive flood that hit Duluth in June, 2012 qualifies as 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000 as well. Here's an excerpt of a story from Climate Central and The Star Tribune: “....This is clearly going to be a historic event,” National Weather Service Director Louis Uccellini said in an interview. “The true magnitude is really just becoming obvious now.” Uccellini said the Weather Service has initiated a review of its performance leading up to and during the event. Although the potential for heavy rainfall was in the agency’s forecasts a week in advance, he said, “Clearly the magnitude of the rainfall and the repetitiveness of it in some critical areas was not pinpointed” well ahead of time. Uccellini said that this event will be the new historical high water mark for many area rivers and streams. In a technical discussion on Thursday, the NWS described the rainfall amounts as “biblical...”
0.1 percent, the probability of such a rainstorm occurring in any given year in Boulder County (“Such values shouldn’t be taken as gospel—there are important caveats, including the hard-to-model behavior of the most extreme events—but they do suggest how truly noteworthy this week’s rains were,” writes Bob Henson, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research)..."
Photo credit above: "Shown is structural damage through Northern Colorado: Boulder, Longmont, Estes Park, Lyons, and Hwy 34 along the Big Thompson River." (Colorado National Guard).
Photo credit above: "A man walks down Wagonwheel Gap Road in Boulder, Colo., on Monday Sept. 16, 2013. Officials hope the number of missing will drop rapidly as communications are restored and people are evacuated throughout the region, as it did in Larimer County, where almost 250 people were lopped off a missing-persons list over the weekend, and Boulder County, where the list shrunk by 187 people." (AP Photo/The Daily Camera, Mark Leffingwell)
Photo credit above: "A raging waterfall destroys a bridge along Highway 34 toward Estes Park, Colorado, as flooding devastates the Front Range and thousands were forced to evacuate, on September 13, 2013."
* In Longmont, Colorado they're already calling this a 1 in 500 year flood.
Graphic credit above: "So much rain fell since Sept. 9 that Boulder, Colo., went from having one of its driest years on record to its wettest." Credit: Dennis Adams-Smith/Climate Central.
Photo credit above: "Floodwater drenched possessions fill the front yard as residents cleanup from historic floods in Longmont, Colo., on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Monday's clearing skies and receding waters revealed only more heartbreak: toppled houses, upended vehicles and a stinking layer of muck covering everything." (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)
Photo credit above: "A house lays completely demolished in what was the path of the recent floods that have destroyed the town of Jamestown, Colo., on Sunday Sept. 14, 2013. No one has been able to access the town until late Sunday afternoon when crews finalized repairs of the upper portion of the road for emergency traffic only. The town has no infrastructure or running water. Some parts of town amazingly enough have electricity. A dozen or so residents stayed as most of the town was evacuated by helicopters." (AP Photo/ The Denver Post, Helen H. Richardson)
What We Learned From Vermont's Epic Flood. CNN has the story - here's a snippet: "...From that emergency response, we learned a few critical lessons that I offer for our counterparts in Colorado:
Sleep and eat. This flood emergency response will continue for many weeks. It is a marathon, not a sprint, and you and your staff can only be helpful if you take care of your own basic needs.
Ask for help. Many folks want to help, including experts who are prepared to pitch in at a moment's notice. Take some time to think carefully about where you could use the extra boots on the ground and ask for assistance.
Communicate. The first casualty of a crisis is information. Make sure you have the facts before you act. Talk to the folks in the field. Share relevant information with the emergency response directors. Let the public know what you know through updates and guidance from your experts. You cannot communicate too much..."
File photo credit above: "Water from the Connecticut River floods Route 5 in Westminster, Vt. Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011, after Tropical Storm Irene moved through the area over the weekend." (AP Photo/The Brattleboro Reformer, Zachary P. Stephens).
Photo credit above: "Water rushes past a flooded home near Left Hand Canyon." / Brennan Linsley, AP.
Photo credit above: "The lone survivor: Brendan "Donut" McDonough." More photos from Yarnell. Photo: Dan Winters.
The Secret Financial Market Only Robots Can See. If you thought the stock market was "rigged" you may be right. The machines are now firmly in control, as highlighted in this eye-opening story at Quartz; here's an excerpt: "What if someone told you the stock market crashed and spiked 18,000 times since 2006, and you had no idea? That’s the contention of a group of scientists who study complex systems after analyzing market data, collected by Nanex, since the advent of high-speed trading. While the fallout of computerized algorithms has been seen before, including the infamous 2010 “flash crash,” when markets lost nearly 10% of value in just a few minutes, that same kind of sudden volatility is going on all the time, unseen. In a new paper called “Abrupt rise of new machine ecology beyond human response time,” researchers found a new trading ecosystem that humans don’t even notice..."
Photo credit above: "These guys don't stand a chance." AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams.
Japanese Broadcaster Looks Beyond 4K to 8K. And I was just starting to feel good about my HDTV. Just think how good "The Housewives of Dubuque" will look on this thing? Which confirms my theory - by the time you take the gadget out of the store it's already obsolete. Details from gizmag.com: "Although 4K was the resolution du jour at IBC in Amsterdam again this year, as it has been for the past couple of years, Japan’s national public broadcaster, NHK, was going one better with a demonstration of 8K, or Super Hi-Vision (SHV). The company’s roadmap set a 2020 date to begin satellite broadcasts of 8K content, which aligns nicely with the Olympics recently being awarded to Tokyo for that year..."
Because Who Wouldn't Appreciate A Refreshing "Road Shower"? Now I've officially seen everything. If your commute (or off-road biking/driving) leaves you sweaty and you just can't wait to get home to get that springtime-fresh-feeling, check out this article from Gizmag: "After a day spent hiking, biking, climbing or otherwise exerting yourself outdoors, a shower sure feels nice. Climbing into your car and driving home all sweaty in order to take said shower, however, can be quite a drag. That's why Colorado native Joel Cotton created the Road Shower. It's a pressurized water tank that mounts on your roof rack, allowing you to grab a quick shower beside your car – just look out for Peeping Toms..."
Deer Rutting Alert. We're quickly entering into deer mating season, which peaks in October and November. The deer are frisky, and more erratic than usual, as Lonna Koch (WNTV meteorologist Rob Koch's wife) discovered while driving in the Stillwater area yesterday. She's OK, but her car isn't. Be careful out there!
4th warmest. Combined land-sea global temperatures in August tied 2005 for the 4th warmest since 1880, according to NOAA NCDC.
Photo credit above: Thinkstock.com.
What's Causing Global Warming? Look For The Fingerprints. Here's an excerpt of an article at The Guardian: "...What did they find? Certain patterns emerge that are consistent with the "human only" scenario. For instance, the heating of the lower atmosphere and cooling of the upper atmosphere, which satellites clearly see, could only happen if human emissions were the culprit. But the study went further; they actually stacked the deck of cards in favor of nature. They used solar and volcanic variations much larger than those that actually occurred since 1979. The strategy was to see if even a worst case "world without us" could be made to look like the current measurements. But, even that didn't work. The human influence still stood out. Perhaps the best summary is in the abstract of the paper.
"We show that a human-caused latitude/altitude pattern of atmospheric temperature change can be identified with high statistical confidence in satellite data. Results are robust to current uncertainties in models and observations … Our results provide clear evidence for a discernible human influence on the thermal structure of the atmosphere".