There's no such thing as a Category 6 hurricane, of course, but "Haiyan" would be a good candidate, if there was. 3.5 times stronger than Katrina, Super Typhoon Haiyan punished the Philippines with 195 mph sustained winds - possibly the strongest land-falling tropical cyclone ever observed. It was roughly equivalent to an EF-4 tornado, only this one was 40 miles in diameter, lasting 2-3 hours.
No, compared to much of the world, where typhoons, earthquakes, volcanoes and debilitating smog are ongoing threats, Minnesotans don't have much to complain about.
I expect some (minor) gripes & groans next week, as the coldest air of the season (so far) gives Minnesota a glancing blow. We're not talking Nanook, but highs may hold in the 20s Tuesday, before rebounding into the 40s again by late week. Nothing even vaguely resembling a "storm" is shaping up for the next 7-8 days. No travel-related weather headaches for the foreseeable future.
Mid-November weather can be all over the map. On this date in 1943 a severe ice storm shut down the Twin Cities; 15" snow at Marshall. But in 1999 the mercury hit the 70s at MSP; a balmy 82F at Canby. Something for everyone.
No weather-drama here anytime soon.
* here's a good source of continuously updating damage/recovery information for the Philippines at The New York Times.
A Few Highlights From The First Annual Minnesota Climate Adaptation Conference. Held at the Science Museum on Thursday, organizer and climate-guru Dr. Mark Seeley has a few highlights and observations in his weekly WeatherTalk Newsletter: "Over 250 people attended, representing state agencies, local units of government, NGOs, academic institutions, industries, and others.
- Participants discussed climate impacts on transportation, agriculture, public health, energy use, urban planning, watershed management, forestry, and the insurance industry.
- Climate change is already having an impact on insurance, Minnesota was the only Midwestern state among the top 3 states with the highest insured catastrophic losses in both 2007 and 2008. Homeowners claims related to severe weather like hail and wind damage are up, as are average homeowner insurance premiums. Minnesota ranks 14th highest among states in homeowners insurance premiums and has seen a rise of over 267 percent in these costs since 1997. Not all of this is related directly to climate change, but some features of severe weather threats are changing and have at least partially had an effect.
- Minnesota DOT is quite concerned about climate change in the context of severe weather. Damage to roads and highways from the flash flood in Duluth, Cloquet, and Two Harbors in June of 2012 totaled over $50 million.
New Asteroid That "Belches Out Dust" Discovered. CNN has the curious story - here's the introduction: "What's that in the sky? Is it an asteroid? A comet? A lawn sprinkler? Turns out a newly discovered object is a little bit of all three -- minus the fact that you won't find many green lawns millions of miles from Earth -- NASA announced Friday. "We were literally dumbfounded when we saw it," David Jewitt, who leads the team exploring the "asteroid with six comet-like tails of dust radiating from it like spokes on a wheel..."
Image credit above: "This NASA Hubble Space Telescope reveals a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt, named P/2013 P5. The asteroid was discovered as an unusually fuzzy-looking object with the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System survey telescope in Hawaii."
Photo credit: "A new study has found a link between higher chocolate consumption and lower body fat levels." (Photo: Shutterstock).
Photo credit: Utah Geological Survey.
- Sea surface temperatures are fueling typhoon Haiyan by increasing available energy and water vapor. Sea surface temperatures near the Philippines are exceptionally warm: 2ºC above normal in a small region, on top of baseline global warming of 0.6ºC. Sea surface temperatures have been steadily increasing around the world’s oceans, and are projected to continue to rise.
- Extreme rain is a threat in the mountainous Philippines, as it can cause dangerous flash floods and landslides. Haiyan is expected to deluge a 50-mile swath of the Philippines with over eight inches of rain. Climate change is projected to increase the precipitation associated with tropical cyclones by 20% by the end of the century.
- Sea level rise increases the destructive power of storm surges. Climate change has already contributed about eight inches to global sea level rise, and this will continue to worsen the impacts of typhoons...
Photo credit above: John Makely / NBC News. "In this 2012 file photo, a lineman works to repair storm damage to a utility pole in Breezy Point, NY."
Photo credit above: "Some climate contrarians have achieved celebrity status, but sometimes celebrity can be a bad thing, as with the Heartland Institute's Unabomber billboard." Photograph: The Heartland Institute.
* LiveScience has more details on the question of cosmic rays and warming here.
Image above courtesy of Live Science: "An artist's concept of the shower of particles produced when Earth's atmosphere is struck by ultra-high-energy cosmic rays." Credit: Simon Swordy/University of Chicago, NASA.