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July Kicks Off With a Heat Wave - String of 90s Into 4th of July Weekend

Star Tribune — Paul Douglas Star Tribune

July 01-- Do We Have To Talk About Heat Index?

"Partly to mostly with a chance." Leave it to a meteorologist to leave you feeling worse than you thought possible. In winter we accidently torment you with wind chill. Summer brings the dreaded heat index, a measure of what the combination of heat and humidity makes it FEEL LIKE. It's all about setting expectations, and annoying as many readers as possible. It's a gift, really.

With all this water in the air your body can't cool itself naturally by evaporating sweat from your skin (the same cooling effect you feel stepping out of the shower). A dewpoint of 60 is humid, 70 is tropical and 80 is mercifully rare - and quite dangerous.

A flurry of thunderstorms marking the leading edge of our extended sauna tapers tonight, with generally dry weather Thursday into much of Sunday. I know, highly dubious for the biggest holiday of summer. Expect low 90s metro in the coming days, with 80s up north providing some modicum of relief.

No windchill to report, and PLEASE remind me not to whine about the heat index!

Hot Enough. I prefer daytime highs above 110F, but this is a pretty good start. Considering we shiver roughly half the year low to mid 90s is cause for delirious celebration in these parts. Map sequence above: Praedictix and AerisWeather.

GFS More Aggressive With Coming Heat. ECMWF (top) suggests temperatures near 90 in the coming days, but GFS (bottom) is much more hype-worthy, showing 97F Thursday for the Twin Cities. I'm skeptical of air temperatures that high, but low 90s seem imminent, maybe a few mid-90s close to MSP. Graphics: WeatherBell. Some Relief by Mid-July? This month is certainly starting out hot, but GFS guidance suggests some slight Canadian cooling within 2 weeks. There may be slight relief for the northern tier of the USA, but most of the USA will be baking through a very hot July.

Outdoor Lightning Safety. This is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week and NOAA has good advice if you're stuck outside when a thunderstorm is approaching: "If you absolutely cannot get to safety, you can slightly lessen the threat of being struck with the following tips. But don't kid yourself--you are NOT safe outside. Know the weather patterns of the area you plan to visit. For example, in mountainous areas, thunderstorms typically develop in the early afternoon, so plan to hike early in the day and be down the mountain by noon. Listen to the weather forecast for the outdoor area you plan to visit. The forecast may be very different from the one near your home. If there is a high chance of thunderstorms, stay inside.

Avoid open fields, the top of a hill or a ridge top. Stay away from tall, isolated trees or other tall objects. If you are in a forest, stay near a lower stand of trees. If you are in a group, spread out to avoid the current traveling between group members. If you are camping in an open area, set up camp in a valley, ravine or other low area. Remember, a tent offers NO protection from lighting. Stay away from water, wet items, such as ropes, and metal objects, such as fences and poles. Water and metal do not attract lightning but they are excellent conductors of electricity. The current from a lightning flash will easily travel for long distances..." File image: NASA.

Intense Rains: June 28-29. The Minnesota DNR has a good recap of Sunday night's monsoon rain event: "Over 18 hours of thunderstorm activity led to widespread heavy rains and scattered flash-flooding across southern Minnesota. A muggy, summer-like air mass surged northward into the region behind a warm front on Sunday June 28th. The leading edge of this warm air had kicked off thunderstorms in Nebraska and Iowa the night before, and the remnants of that activity formed into an miniature low-pressure system that moved into southern Minnesota on Sunday afternoon. Thunderstorms began developing around 3 PM, with the activity slowly expanding and increasing in intensity through the remainder of the afternoon. As the storm complex grew, it took on a distinct "cyclonic circulation" pattern, with rain and thunderstorms wrapping counter-clockwise around a central core that remained largely free of precipitation..."

Understanding Lightning Science. This is National Lightning Safety Awareness Week. NOAA has some good factoids and reminders here: "...Lightning is fascinating to watch but also extremely dangerous. In the United States, there are about 25 million lightning flashes every year. Each of those 25 million flashes is a potential killer. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top weather killers in the United States. In addition, lightning injures many more people than it kills and leaves some victims with life-long health problems. Understanding the dangers of lightning is important so that you can get to a safe place when thunderstorms threaten. If you hear thunder--even a distant rumble--you are already in danger of becoming a lightning victim..." Lightning photo credit: NOAA.

Pandemic May Lead to Longer Power Outages After Hurricanes. covers an angle of this story I hadn't considered before: "Power companies across hurricane-prone states are forced to face a prospect they've never dealt with before: restoring power after a major storm amid a global pandemic.

Long restoration times are likely depending on how the coronavirus plays out during the six-month Atlantic hurricane season, which started June 1 and is predicted to be extremely active. "While we are committed to restoring power to customers as quickly as possible following a hurricane, I am not willing to sacrifice safety for speed," Florida Power & Light Company President and CEO Eric Silagy noted Friday after the company concluded its two-week storm preparedness drill..." New Free App Highlights Flood Risk Properties Around the USA. Miami Herald has details: "A new app designed to rank the flood risk for every property in the U.S. has some distressing findings for Florida. The cities with the most properties at risk are all over the state -- from Tampa, the city most at risk to storm surge, to Cape Coral, which Politico memorably dubbed “the boomtown that shouldn’t exist,” to sunny-day flooded Miami and Fort Lauderdale. But the data reveals rarely mentioned cities where virtually every home is at risk of flooding today..."

Yes, Masks Do Make a Difference. Here's a recap of recent research highlighted PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: "...Our results show that the airborne transmission route is highly virulent and dominant for the spread of COVID-19. The mitigation measures are discernable from the trends of the pandemic. Our analysis reveals that the difference with and without mandated face covering represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic. This protective measure significantly reduces the number of infections. Other mitigation measures, such as social distancing implemented in the United States, are insufficient by themselves in protecting the public..."

Read more here: Airbnb CEO: Travel May Never Be the Same. Axios has a series of eye-opening predictions: "...Airbnb says business within countries has recovered to previous levels. But international travel remains off in a way that's devastating to the platform. 'People will, one day, get back on planes," Chesky said. "But one of the things that I do think is a fairly permanent shift is ... a redistribution of where travelers go." In the past, with what he called "mass tourism," travelers limited themselves "to like 50 or 100 cities. You know, everyone goes to Rome, Paris, London, they stay in the hotel district, they get on the double-decker bus. They wait in line to get a selfie in front of a landmark." "I think that's going to get smaller as a percentage of travel in the future, and I think it's going to get somewhat displaced, or at least balanced, by people visiting smaller communities." Chesky said he sees a potential boom for National Parks..."

The New Weapon in the Covid-19 War. Bloomberg Opinion has a very interesting post; here's an excerpt: "...In the end, roughly 3,000 people showed up to be tested over four days in late April, and the Biohub processed their tests. A bit more than 6% of the Latinos were infected by Covid-19, most with high loads of the virus, though many had no symptoms. There were patterns in the test results -- for example, the wealthier the person, the less likely he was to be infected. And of the 981 white people tested, zero were positive. And so the big takeaway seemed to be what everyone in the past few weeks has figured out: The virus is now disproportionately attacking poor people of color, and lots of infectious people are walking around without a clue about their condition. But neither of those, it turns out, is the biggest takeaway. The biggest takeaway is this chart..."

Graphic credit above: Source: Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. "Note: People not connected with a line to a specific strain have a version of the virus with an undetermined genome and are placed according to best-guess assessments. An older infection is indicated by a positive antibody test result. Three workers who tested positive for Covid-19, but didn’t receive an antibody test to determine whether their infection was older or recent, are shown in the graphic as recent infections."

Is Twister a True Story? How Accurate Is The Movie to Real Storm Chasing? Was the movie embellished? Absolutely. Was it based on sound science, expert advice and previous storm chases? Absolutely. By the way, during filming of "Twister" outside Ames, Iowa the closest I got to Helen Hunt was chatting with her body-double. Oh well. Screenrant has an interesting post; here's an excerpt: "...One of the biggest aspects of real storm chasing that made the leap from fact to fiction was Twister's research device, Dorothy. The instrument used by Jo, Bill, and the team was directly based on the TOtable Tornado Observatory (TOTO) used by the NOAA and NSSL researchers decades prior. The name, of course, was derived from Dorothy's small dog from The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy was a similarly structured barrel that had the same goal of holding hundreds of sensors that would release inside a tornado, sending data back to the scientists. Unlike TOTO which was never successful, Jo and Bill managed to get deploy Dorothy IV. TOTO was officially retired in 1987 but the device, as well as Dorothy and the rival team's ripoff, D.O.T. 3, are all on display at the National Weather Center in Norman, Oklahoma..."

88 F. high in the Twin Cities on Tuesday.

83 F. average high on June 30.

81 F. high on June 30, 2019.

July 1, 1964: Tyler picks up over 6 inches of rain in 24 hours.

WEDNESDAY: Sticky, few T-storms. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 87 THURSDAY: Hot sunshine, light winds. Winds: S 3-8. Wake-up: 72. High: 94 FRIDAY: Hazy sunshine, still muggy. Winds: E 3-8. Wake-up: 75. High: 93 4TH OF JULY: Hot sunshine, T-storms at night? Winds: S 5-10. Wake-up: 76. High: 93 SUNDAY: Sweaty with a stray T-storm. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 75. High: 92 MONDAY: Some sunshine, pop-up PM storms. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 74. High: near 90 TUESDAY: More numerous T-storms possible. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 71. High: 87

Climate Stories...

South Pole Warming Three Times Faster Than Rest of World, Research Shows. The Guardian has the story: "Climate scientists long thought Antarctica’s interior may not be very sensitive to warming, but our research, published this week, shows a dramatic change. Over the past 30 years, the south pole has been one of the fastest-changing places on Earth, warming more than three times more rapidly than the rest of the world. My colleagues and I argue these warming trends are unlikely the result of natural climate variability alone. The effects of human-made climate change appear to have worked in tandem with the significant influence natural variability in the tropics has on Antarctica’s climate. Together they make the south pole warming one of the strongest warming trends on Earth..."

Climate Change Keeps Changing the Game for Home Gardeners. AP and Pioneer have a timely post; here's a clip: "...The climate in 2025 will be different even from that in 2020, so take that into account when doing your landscape planning, says Sara Tangren, invasive species foreman for Empire Landscape in Silver Springs, Maryland. "For perennials, stick with locally native plants. But when it comes to trees, look to a broader range,” Tangren says. ``I’m not recommending natives when talking trees. Go for something instead that can take the heat.” You also can expect more dormancy in lawns, she says. “They’ll be going brown in summer, but you can transform that look in part and save on mowing by deciding which portions of the yard you really use,” Tangren says. ”Start planting perennials, shrubs and trees there instead...”

Image credit: Star Tribune.

Most Americans Say Climate Change Affects Their Community. Pew Research Center has details: "More than six-in-ten Americans (63%) say climate change is currently affecting their local community either a great deal or some, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted April 29-May 5, 2020 – similar to the share who said this in surveys from 2019 and 2018. As is the case on many climate-related issues, perceptions of whether and how much climate change is affecting local communities are closely tied with political party affiliation. More than eight-in-ten Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party (83%) say climate change is affecting their local community at least some, compared with 37% of Republicans and Republican leaners..."

New Data Reveals Hidden Flood Risk Across America. Some harrowing news from new research highlighted at The New York Times (paywall): "Nearly twice as many properties may be susceptible to flood damage than previously thought, according to a new effort to map the danger. Across much of the United States, the flood risk is far greater than government estimates show, new calculations suggest, exposing millions of people to a hidden threat -- and one that will only grow as climate change worsens. That new calculation, which takes into account sea-level rise, rainfall and flooding along smaller creeks not mapped federally, estimates that 14.6 million properties are at risk from what experts call a 100-year flood, far more than the 8.7 million properties shown on federal government flood maps. A 100-year flood is one with a 1 percent chance of striking in any given year..."

What Can a Pandemic Teach Us About Climate Change. A post at Resilience caught my eye; here's a clip: "...Both, the pandemic, and climate change represent shocks that have obvious physical effects which translate into a variety of socioeconomic impacts. Both have the potential to shock global supply & demand, disrupt supply chains and livelihoods. These physical shocks can be remedied by understanding and addressing the underlying causes and their relationships with each other. The effects are systemic and can be felt throughout the complex, varied systems in an interconnected world. In both cases, public health, energy, and transportation systems among others could be severely affected. The socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic and climate change can grow severely once certain thresholds are breached. We can already see that with COVID-19; where death tolls rose exponentially once hospital capacities were reached, and there was a lack of available ventilators. This non-linearity makes both these phenomena extremely disruptive..."

A Disastrous Summer in the Arctic. All those things climate scientists were predicting 30 years ago are coming true. Amazing. Here's a clip from a story at The New Yorker: "...Anthropogenic climate change is causing the Arctic to heat up twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Climate models had predicted this phenomenon, known as Arctic amplification, but they did not predict how fast the warming would occur. Although Verkhoyansk has seen hot temperatures in the past, Saturday’s 100.4-degree record follows a wildly warm year across the region. Since December, temperatures in western Siberia have been eighteen degrees above normal. Since January, the mean temperature across Siberia has been at least 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit above the long-term average. As the meteorologist Jeff Berardelli reported for CBS, the heat that has fallen on Russia in 2020 “is so remarkable that it matches what’s projected to be normal by the year 2100, if current trends in heat-trapping carbon emissions continue...”


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