Friday, June 30, 2017

Vermont, New York Get Surprise Downpours, Flood Threat Dramatically Worsens

Chaos in Barre, Vermont after a May, 2011 flash flood.
There's some risk we could see scenes like this again this weekend.
Much more rain fell across northern New York and the northern half of Vermont overnight, and this sets the stage for a real flood threat.

The threat is even higher than I had been expecting earlier this week.

Last night's torrential rains, amounted to two to three inches, locally even a little more from the St. Lawrence Valley of New York, across Lake Champlain and the northern half of Vermont.

Burlington got 2.16 inches of rain and Colchester piled up 2.71 inches.

By the way, June rainfall in Burlington has so far amounted to 6.79 inches. If we don't get a drop of rain today, it'll still be the seventh wettest June on record.

Flood warnings were issued across a stripe of northern Vermont, along and roughly 30 miles either side of a line from Burlington to a little south of St. Johnsbury.

There's been no major flooding in that zone, but there is high water, washouts and that kind of thing.

Mainstem rivers are already getting into the act, too. There's a flood warning for the Winooski River at Waterbury. Today's flooding won't be as bad as during Tropical Storm Irene, when the Winooski flooded most of downtown Waterbury.

But low spots, and low roads are going to go underwater. Flooding will cover fields and damage crops downstream to Richmond, and possibly all the way down to the famed vegetable farms in Burlington's Intervale.

The rain was temporarily waning early this morning and the flood warnings will have probably been dropped, at least for awhile across northern Vermont by the time you read this. With the exception of the Winooski River flood warning, which will probably remain in effect most of the day, even if we don't get much more rain.

However, this flood event is only just beginning.

A flash flood watch is up across northern New York, the northern half of Vermont, northern New Hampshire and western Maine through Saturday night.

The warm front that caused the torrential rains last night is lifting toward Quebec and we'll get firmly entrenched in the warm, very humid air today.

Disturbances riding along a front to our west will fire up plenty of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, and some will of course have torrential rain.  Even as I write this at 7 a.m. Friday, heavy downpours were lurking in western New York, heading east.

Here's how high the risk is: It would only take about an inch of rain in an hour to cause a flash flood. Some of the thunderstorms today and even more numerous ones Saturday and Saturday night could easily drop two inches of rain in an hour.
Flash flooding in Richmond,  Vermont in June, 2013. This
kind of thing could easily happen again today, and
especially Saturday in Vermont. 

And some locations that are unlucky enough to get repeated storms could get three to five inches of rain between now and Saturday night.

We get flash flood watches fairly often, but this to me is the most precarious situation since the big spring and summer floods of 2011.

Some of today's storms could also be severe, with strong gusty winds. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has Vermont in part of a broad zone of a slight severe storm risk today.

The storms will subside tonight, but there's still a chance of locally heavy downpours overnight.

For what it's worth, one weather model has a band of heavy rain lingering for several hours across northern Vermont this evening. That might or might not actually happen, but it's something to watch.

Saturday afternoon and night is looking even more dangerous. The cold front to our west will be closer, and the thunderstorms will be much more numerous Saturday than they will be today.

Even worse, the air will be even more humid than today, providing the fuel for even more torrential rains. And some of those storms could be severe, with gusty winds.

Not only is flash flooding a threat, but some of the bigger rivers in the North Country could flood. We already mentioned today's flood warning on the Winooski.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Winooski flooded again by Saturday, along with other rivers like the Ausable in New York, and Vermont's Lamoille, Mississquoi and Mad rivers. This all depends, of course, on how widespread and heavy the rain is.

So heads up. It's going to be a rough weekend. The threat of flooding is pretty damn high. We could get lucky and not get so many storms, but I'm not holding my breath. This could be one for the record books.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Still Worried About Possible Flash Floods This Weekend

Stormy skies over St. Albans, Vermont earlier this week.
More storms, and possible flash floods, could hit
parts of the Green Mountain State over the weekend.
As of mid-morning, a band of rain was right on our doorstep moving in from the west and northwest ahead of a warm front.  

It'll be cool here in Vermont today, since the warm front won't actually move through until tomorrow, and the rain will keep the air chilled.

This afternoon and evening is really going to be a soaker, with drenching rain a sure bet.

The overall forecast hasn't changed much since I talked about this yesterday, and we're still at risk for local flash flooding over the weekend in the Green Mountain State.

There shouldn't be any substantial flooding at all today and tonight, but the rain, falling on already soggy soil, will turn the ground into wet mush and raise water levels in streams and rivers, which were already running a bit high before today's rain.

After the warm front moves through Friday morning,  we'll be in humid, warm air. Scattered thunderstorms are inevitable in such an airmass, and the moisture in the atmosphere will be increasing all day.

The Friday thunderstorms will be hit and miss, and most of them won't be big enough, or slow moving enough to cause flash floods. Still, torrential downpours falling on the soggy soil could trigger a few local bouts with high water and washouts.

A few of Friday's storms could be strong, too, with gusty winds and lots of lightning joining up with the torrential downpours. Not everybody will get at thunderstorm Friday, but those who do will sure notice it.

Saturday is the trouble day. Again, I can't guarantee any flash flooding, but thunderstorms will be very widespread, especially during the afternoon and evening. The atmosphere will be really juiced up with water, so the rainfall with these storms will be unbelievable in spots.

I'm guessing the National Weather Service in South Burlington will soon issue a flash flood watch for at parts of our area for Saturday. Stay tuned on this one.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Break Today, Then More Storms. Floods, Too?

A storm over Lake Champlain Tuesday afternoon, as
seen from Overlook Park in South Burlington, Vermont
Just a quick update before I go outside and enjoy and (mostly) rain-free day.

As expected a lot more showers and storms swept across Vermont and most of the rest of the Northeast on Tuesday.  

Some storms did end up dropping quite a bit of hail, again as expected.

The worst problem, going forward, is that the storms on Tuesday added yet more moisture to the ground. And a lot more rain is looming. We could be looking at another flood potential over the weekend.

What looks to be a very wet warm front - probably similar to the one that brought us a soaking last Friday, looks to hit us on Thursday, especially in the afternoon and evening.

There won't be a lot of thunderstorms with it, but it looks like another soaker - possibly an inch of rain that will really turn the ground to a swampy soup.

Thursday's rains don't look like they'll be enough to cause any significant flooding, but they could prime the pump for the weekend.

We'll get back into the warm, very humid air Friday and Saturday, and that sets the stage for yet another flash flood threat in Vermont and the rest of the North Country.

At this point, it sort of looks like the storms Friday will be scattered - probably not enough to trigger flash flooding, though a local torrential downpour has the potential to cause trouble then.

The trouble - if any - looks like it would come on Saturday, especially the afternoon and night. By then, it will be ridiculously humid again, with dewpoints near the awful 70 degrees.

A slow moving cold front will be approaching from the west Saturday. It looks like we could get into "training" thunderstorms again, as the air flow will be parallel to the front. That means repeated thunderstorms could keep going over the same spot again and again.

That would trigger the flash floods. Especially since the ground is so sopping wet.

This scenario for Saturday is not set in stone. A lot can happen to the weather patterns between now and then. Maybe the heaviest rain will orient itself somewhere else, like to our west, north or south.

Or, atmospheric conditions might not be ripe enough to trigger lots of torrential thunderstorms. Maybe we'll get away with just scattered stuff.

The only reason for this post, then, is to give you a heads up that there could be flash flood trouble on Saturday. Watch for future posts and updates,  and whether any flash flood watches or alerts are issued.

Also pay attention as the weekend approaches to the National Weather Service and/or trusted weather forecasting sources.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Threshold For Heat Warnings Lowered In New England

Heat,  near 120 in the shade, melted this plastic Phoenix
mailbox last week. Though things never get this bad in Vermont,
heat can still be dangerous in the summer. 
Chances are you'll hear more heat advisories and heat warnings this summer if you're in New England.

No, I'm not expecting this summer to be record hot. Instead, they're lowering the temperature at which they start issuing heat advisories.

According to Vermont Public Radio, they used to issue heat advisories if the temperature was expected  to reach 100 or more for at least two hours.

Now, they'll issue advisories if there is a forecast of two consecutive days when readings are likely to reach 95 or more.

"In Vermont, where our hot days are so infrequent, it can be really tough for our bodies to adjust to those hotter temperatures and change your activities to work around the hot weather.... And often Vermonters, myself included, don't have air conditioning, so it's hard to find relief during those hot days," Jared Ulmer, the climate and health coordinator at the Vermont Health Department, told VPR.

Emergency room visits for heat related illnesses begin to rise in Vermont when the temperature reaches about 87 degrees, so you know a couple 90 degree days can be a bit much for some people.

For today, at least, no worries about the heat. The expected high temperature in Burlington, Vermont today is 71.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Bright Sun And Storms: Skies Perfect For A Weather Geek

A photo I took last summer in Fairfield,
on a day with beautiful atmospheric
conditions similar to Sunday's
in Vermont.
Sunday featured what I consider perfect weather here in Vermont, though I know most people would disagree with me.

Oh sure, people must have thought it was nice enough, at times. There were bouts of briliant blue skies and bright sunshine. But those were frequently interrupted by billowing clouds, lightning, and quick downpours accompanied by chilly wind gusts.

But those skies! Big cloud towers lit up white by the sun against a deep blue sky backdrop, free of haze. Closer to the storms, evening sun cut underneath roiling storm clouds, giving the atmosphere an  otherworldly feel.

This kind of thing happens at least once a year, sometimes several times of year, especially in June and the first half of July.

These beautiful sunny and stormy days are created when a pocket of cold air sits high overhead. The sun is as strong as it gets this time of year and quickly heats the ground. Warm air starts to rise, and rises especially quickly when it's cold up above.

These rising air pockets condense into billowy clouds, and eventually, the types of showers and thunderstorms we saw on Sunday. This is especially true when a weak weather front, again like we had Sunday, adds more lift to the air.

You might think this is odd, but the weather conditions remind me of my favorite play, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." by Edward Albee.

In that play, protagonists George and Martha are in constant conflict, but seem to have an emotional need to constantly engage in that conflict.

Sunday's weather was a classic conflict between warmth and cold, and the two temperature extremes needed each other to create the beautiful turmoil overhead.

The kind of storms we had Sunday come on days when the air isn't particularly humid. Which means there's no haze obscuring the beautiful cloud structures the way it usually does when we have thunderstorms. After all, we associate thunderstorms with hot, humid weather and not  during refreshingly cool days. But of course it does happen.  
Dramatic skies over St. Albans, Vermont Sunday evening
as the setting sun lit up the base of a thunderstorm
passing by just to my north. 

Sometimes, these cooler weather storms can get strong or even severe. Since there's plenty of cold air aloft, it's easier to get hail out of the type of storm we got Sunday, so that's one drawback. We love the sky we had yesterday, until the hail shreds the hostas.

Also, these storms are relatively brief, and will collapse suddenly, bringing a gush of potentially strong to damaging winds to a few local areas.

This all happened up toward St. Johnsbury, where one storm Sunday produced golf ball sized hail and knocked down some trees and power lines.

Today, there will be some cool weather showers and isolated thunderstorms around, but the dynamics of the atmosphere don't lend themselves to the skies we had Sunday.

However, tomorrow, Tuesday, we have another weather disturbance and a new pocket of cold air aloft  coming in, so there's the potential for things to look as beautiful as they did Sunday.

So make sure you look up and enjoy the spectacle of an active Vermont summer skh. Let's just keep the hail out of the gardens, OK?



Saturday, June 24, 2017

We Dodged A Flash Flood Bullet, But It's Going To Stay Wet

Arrived at work early this morning, amid rain, a wet parking lot
and dark overcast skies, Burlington, Vermont
We hare in Vermont and the rest of the North Country barely dodged a nasty flash flood bullet on Friday.

That soaking rain - one to two inches of it - primed the pump for some real nastiness Friday afternoon and evening as we expected some more torrential thunderstorms.

Those afternoon and evening downpours indeed developed across New York, Vermont and New Hampshire.

But, thankfully, they were just a bit too scattered, a bit too fast moving and not quite consistent enough to send blasts of water roaring out of the hills.

The result is some minor driveway and back road washouts, high water in the creeks and soggy, half drowned gardens, but no real disaster.

Other areas that have been getting a lot of rain weren't so lucky. Flash floods were reported Friday and earlier this week from Ontario to Louisiana.

Also, early this morning, severe thunderstorms and at least one likely tornado caused a lot of damage in New Jersey

If you're getting sick of the rain, I've got bad news for you. There's a chance of showers daily for the forseeable future, pretty much through next Friday.

No single day in this damp stretch will be a washout, and I see no signs coming up of enough rain to renew the flood threat. At least that's how it looks now.

However, it appears weather disturbances will come through just about every day, creating the risk of showers.

Sunday afternoon in particulary has a high chance of showers as a another cold front ripples on through.

Despite the rain threat, it will turn less humid this afternoon and on into early next week as a dip in the jet stream sits over us.

It will probably turn somewhat warmer and more humid near the end of the week, but the threat of showers and thunderstorms will continue as a front stalls to our north and other weak weather systems keep zipping in from the west.

Summer is still young, and things could change, but if this summer turns out to be a wet one, that's following a trend in New England.

Last summer was very dry, of course, but that was an exception. Almost every summer since 2001 has been definitely on the wet side here in Vermont.

Flash flooding, always a risk in hilly New England, have gotten more common. The summers of 2011 and 2013 were especially destructive in that regard.

The ground now is very wet. If a particularly heavy burst of rain comes through in the next couple weeks at least, we're in for another flash flood threat.

Stay tuned.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Not Cindy, But A Very Wet Day Up Here In New England. Flash Flooding?


UPDATE


This graphic/radar image from the National Weather Service
in South Burlington, Vermont shows heavy rain over northern
New York and Vermont early this morning, with more downpours
looming to our west for later today.
A flash flood watch has been issued for a strip of north central Vermont, basically and roughly within 30 miles either side of Route 2.
The flash flood watch also covers a good chunk of northern New York.

The rain really came down hard in this region this morning, with up to two inches of rain reported.

The ground is soaked, and more downpours loom.
The warm front that caused the heavy rain has moved to the north, and we're in very, very humid air. Any showers and storms that form will bring torrential rains, and flash flooding is now a real risk in much of northern Vermont.

As of 12:30 p.m., weather radar is frankly ominous. Heavy downpours were lurking in New York state and strengthening. Bands of heavy downpours look like they might want to repeatedly move over the same spots.

Flash flooding, as the name implies, happens fast, so be aware of gushes of water coming down from the hills. Don't drive through flooded roads, because even shallow water can sweep a car away, and you don't know if the road is washed away beneath the water.

Take care this afternoon, northern Vermont and northern New York peeps!

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION

I awoke in northwest Vermont today to gusty south winds, bursts of heavy rain and, occasionally, the sound of thunder.

Tropical Storm Cindy?  

Nah, no and nope, but the now-deceased tropical storm is having some influence on the weather here in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast.

There was impressive band of rain and thunderstorms all the way from Wisconsin, across Michgan, through southern Ontario, across northern New York and on into Vermont and the rest of New England early this morning.

That was a very active warm front coming through. Some warm fronts, like this one, produce a lot of precipitation. Others go by with little fanfare.

This warm front, in part, had some moisture to work with from the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy, which was still located in the South and prompting flood watches today from Louisiana to southwest Pennsylvania.

By the way, Cindy did cause flooding and some tornadoes Thursday after coming ashore and weakening to a very wet tropical depression. One tornado caused damage and injuries around Birmingham, Alabama.

There might not be much flooding in Vermont or northern New England today, but some of us have already gotten pretty wet, and will get wetter.  If there is any flooding, it's most likely across northern Vermont and New York, which got the biggest soaking this morning, with more than an inch of rain.

And those storms this afternoon will be torrential. Plus, I saw one weather model that showed up to five inches of rain in parts of  the northern third of Vermont today, which would cause some pretty substantial flash flooding.

That's not a definite, but it's something to watch. It depends on whether thunderstorms develop and repeatedly go over the same areas. If there is flash flooding today, the best bet is north of Route 2.

Later this morning, the warm front will have lifted into Canada, taking its occasionally heavy rain with it.

However, we will be in a warm, somewhat unstable and very humid atmosphere, due, again, in part to the remnants of Cindy still sitting well to our south.  The lull in the rain late this morning and maybe early this afternoon will come to an end.

With a cold front well to our west, but approaching us, showers and thunderstorms will break out again this afternoon and evening.

 Unlike the morning's rain, which pretty much gave everybody in the northern half of New York and most of Vermont a good soaking, the showers and thunderstorms later today will be more hit and miss.

Some people will only get a little more rain, while others get blasted by torrential downpours. It's a roll of the dice.  Again, northern Vermont is the most likely scene of this.

It's possible some storms later today could end up being severe, too, with local strong gusty winds and hail.

This won't be a big time severe event. The atmosphere just isn't right to produce lots of organized, intense storms.   Still, a  few storms could get somewhat wild. But the bigger story will be the heavy rainfall today.

We'll keep showers in the forecast Sunday through Monday, though none of these days will be a washout. Just hit and miss stuff like we had over much of the past week.

Looks like it might turn warmer and drier for a couple days later next week, though.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Deadly Portugal Forest Fire Largely A Man-Made Tragedy.

A huge forest fire in Portugal has killed at least 64 people
I'm sure most of you are horrified by the news out of Portugal last weekend, when a huge forest fire in the central part of that nation killed more than 60 people.

Lots of observers are saying that the disaster was at least in part man-made.

The Portugal forest fire hit during a spell of extremely hot, dry weather, the kind of conditions that climate change and global warming tend to encourage.

There's that, but an even bigger reason for the Portugal disaster has an even more direct line to what humans did.

As the BBC and many other media outlets note,  eucalyptus trees had a lot to do with this.

I'll let the BBC explain:

"Much of the area in flames is dominated by eucalyptus, an Australian species introduced to Europe in the 18th Century, but which really boomed in Portugal with the rise of the paper industries in the mid-20th Century.

It is one of the most profitable trees, but ecologists say eucalpytus sucks up rare groundwater and is bad for native plants and animal life. 

The sap-rich tree that now covers large parts of central and northern Portugal is also highly flammable

Eucalyptus lined route N-236, where 47 people died in their cars while trying to flee." 

On top of all that, a lot of forest in Portugal is privately owned, and much of it isn't managed well. Plenty of underbrush, dead branches and other fuels accumulated in the forests, and that contributed to the fire's intensity as well.

Worst of all, a person might have started the fire. Initially, it was thought that lightning struck a tree during a "dry thunderstorm" sparking the blaze.

But there are now reports that the forest fire was already going gang busters when the lightning struck. The thunderstorm winds might have fanned the flames, but an arsonist might have started the fire ahead of time..

We always hear of "natural disasters" as being "an act of God." and there's nothing we can do about it.

To an extent, that's true, as we can't prevent every storm, every drought, every heat wave, every hurricane, every tornado.

However, every disaster death toll is made worse by something we could have done better. Hindsight is always 20-20, but when people die in a weather calamity, it's always useful to figure out why people died and how we can prevent deaths the next time.

Because there's always a next time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tropical Storm Cindy Drowns Gulf Coast; Southwest Bakes Enough To Cancel Flights

Tropical Storm Cindy and the Southwest heat wave are the big news stories of the day, so we'll get right into those: 
Ragged but very, very wet Tropical Storm Cindy in the
Gulf of Mexico this morning.

CINDY:

Tropical Storm Cindy, as anticipated, formed yesterday in the Gulf of Mexico, and it is already drowning parts of the South in way, way too much rain.

The storm doesn't even look like a classic tropical storm, and although highest sustained winds with this thing were 60 mph early this morning, the wind isn't the big issue with Cindy.

It fact, those winds will probably diminish some by the time it makes landfall tomorrow morning.

However, Cindy is bringing immense boatloads of moisture onshore. The storm could dump up to a foot of rain in a zone between Louisiana and the Florida panhandle. This would cause horrible flooding, as you can imagine.

Especially since that area has had a super wet June already.

Later this week, the remnants of Cindy will move over the area around Tennessee and then toward North Carolina and Virginia, continuing the threat of very bad flooding in those regions.

For my local readers wondering if Cindy will have any local impacts on Vermont, the answer is, not really.

A cold front coming in Friday looks like it will want to scoop up some moisture from Cindy, which means some of the thunderstorms with the cold front could produce heavy rain. But the storms will likely move along too fast to produce any widespread flash flooding.

HEAT WAVE

That long anticipated heat wave in the Southwest hit its stride on Tuesday. Las Vegas, Nevada tied the record for its all time hottest temperature, at 117 degrees.

Also, as the Weather Channel reports, Needles, California ties its all time high temperature record with an, um, balmy 125 degrees.

Fun fact: The Peanuts character Snoopy had a brother named Spike who lived in Needles. If Spike were real, I'd hope someone would have taken him to an air conditioned place.

It could have been worse for Spike: Death Valley reached 127 degrees Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Tucson just missed its all time high temperature by one degree, as it reached 116 degrees there. Phoenix set a record high for the date with a toasty 119 degrees.

Several flights out of Phoenix were canceled because some planes can't take off in such conditions. Hot air is thinner, so they need more speed to take off, thus more runway space, which isn't always available.

As for us here in Vermont, no, the heat out west isn't going to trek across the nation and affect us. Expect near normal temperatures for this time of year during the next few days.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rare Dual June Tropical Storms And East Coast Storm Cleanup

Summer time is often the doldrums when it comes to weather.
This big mess of a storm in the Gulf of Mexico is likely to
become Tropical or Subtropical Storm Cindy.

It's hot and humid and nothing much happens. Oh sure, you get your occasional severe thunderstorms, a few searing heat waves, maybe a local flood or two.

But things so far in this young summer are coming fast and furiously.

I've already mentioned a couple days ago that terrible heat wave in the Southwest, where all time record high temperatures are being threatened today.

The Northeast today is cleaning up after punishing thunderstorms and flash floods on Monday. I'll have more on that in a bit.

JUNE TROPICAL STORMS

But first, we have the rare spectacle of two Atlantic tropical storms spinning up at the same time. It's the first time that's happened in June since 1968.

That is, if a near-tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico gets its act together today.

Tropical Storm Bret spun up in the far southern Caribbean yesterday, slashing Trinidad and Tobago and the northern coast of Venezuela with gusty winds and torrential rains.

It's heading toward the west with top sustained winds of 45 mph. It probably won't get much stronger, and forecasters think Bret will fall apart in a couple days. Stronger upper level winds will probably kill Bret before it reaches the coast of Nicaragua.

A bigger worry, at least for us in the United States, is a tropical storm or subtropical storm is  expected to develop in the Gulf of Mexico, possibly today. (A subtropical storm has characteristics of both a tropical storm and a regular old low pressure system.)

The Gulf of Mexico storm has winds of 40 mph, enough to have it declared a tropical storm. However, as of early this morning, it didn't have a nice circular center, which you need to have a tropical storm.

The storm was getting better organized, so the National Hurricane Center gave this storm a 90 percent chance of becoming Tropical Storm Cindy.

Forecasters are worried about wannabe Cindy because it's heading north toward the United States Gulf Coast. Tropical storm warnings are up for the Louisiana coast, and a tropical storm watch is up for the far eastern Texas coastline.

Storm surges in the low lying coasts could definitely cause flooding with this.

A bigger worry is the torrential rains that will come in with Wannabe Cindy. At this point, the storm poses an inland flood threat from East Texas and Louisiana all the way up to Tennessee and Kentucky, and possible east of that in the coming days.

EAST COAST STORMS

As expected, lots of strong and severe thunderstorms popped up in the Northeast Monday, sending plenty of trees and powerlines crashing down, sometimes onto cars and houses. Flash flooding became a real problem, especially in parts of southern Vermont and New Hampshire.

Only one tornado was reported so far, an EF-0 with 70 mph winds that trashed some trees in Maryland.
Departing storm clouds cast an orange glow at sunset last
evening in St. Albans, Vermont.

Here in Vermont, flooding was pretty widespread in and around Brattleboro. A large mudslide closed Route 30 northwest of Brattleboro. The Brattleboro Reformer also reported mudslides along Route 5 and Route 9. Back roads had washouts.

Parts of Rutland City also flooded amid the heavy rains.

Today, only scattered showers and thunderstorms are likely across the Northeast, including Vermont.

No more flooding is expected, except in northern Maine, where the storms might be heavy enough to cause further flash flooding

Here's a video of some flooding along Route 9 west of Brattleboro, Vermont:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Western New York Got It Sunday. Central New England Is Storm Target Today.

Christina Nolan captured this lightning in Georgia,
Vermont last night. Image via @SeanMParker on Twitter. 
Most of the anticipated severe weather and localized flooding on Sunday concentrated itself in western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania, where there were several reports of strong winds with thunderstorms.

The storms weakened, as anticipated, as they moved into Vermont last night. The only report of storm damage so far in the Green Mountain State was a tree down on a power line in Fairfax.

Today, the storms will fire up again, this time further east. The flash flood watches remain in effect in all but coastal New England, in eastern New York and down into northern New Jersey.

All of these areas are at risk of severe thunderstorms along with the local flash floods today. It appears the biggest threat for damaging wind gusts in thunderstorms would be in central New England, and on up into southeastern Vermont and western New Hamsphire.

The zone under the gun for severe thunderstorms also extends down into New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and into the Washington DC area.

In all these areas just mentioned the atmospheric conditions are even more welcoming for severe storms than they were Sunday over western New York and Pennsylvania, so I expect quite a few reports of mostly straight line wind damage by the end of the day.

I still wouldn't be surprised to hear of a quick tornado spin up or two in, say, western Massachusetts, the lower Hudson Valley of New York and on into the Mid Atlantic states.

Up here in New England,  localized flash flooding remains a concern. It could happen anywhere in the region, but the most likely spots at this point seem to be in southern and eastern Vermont, New Hampshire, western Maine, western Massachusetts and northwestern Connecticut.

Not everybody is going to get flooded out, but moisture levels are high, so if a particular town or region gets bullseyed by an especially strong thunderstorm or two, it'll rain so hard that a flash flood would crop up in no time.

That's why they call them flash floods, to be Captain Obvious.

As I mentioned yesterday, thunderstorms might line up like box cars on a railroad track in a few spots, so a few unlucky spots in the Northeast might get hit by repeated torrential thunderstorms today, and that would make the flash flooding even worse.

I always mention that with summer thunderstorms and flash floods, it's always impossible to tell who's going to get hit the hardest and when even a couple of hours in advance.

Damaging weather in the Northeast today, including here in Vermont, will be hit and miss. The best thing to do is have a weather radio or at least reliable media nearby, as National Weather Service offices throughout the region will be blasting out warnings for severe thunderstorms and flash floods as the storms develop today.

You might also want to cancel - right now - that hiking trip or boating excursion you had planned for today. There will be better weather eventually.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday Update On Severe Storm, Flood Threat In Northeast

Aftermath of severe flash flooding in Barre, Vermont in
May, 2011. There remains a flash flood risk in Vermont
and most of the rest of New England Monday, but let's
hope it doesn't get as bad as in this photo. 
Flash flood watches are flying for a big area of the Northeast today through Monday as a slow moving batch of severe storms with torrential rains still seem like a great bet.

The flood watch zone extends through much of New York, and from New Jersey up through all but southeastern New England.

This potential flood alert zone includes northwestern Connecticut, western Massachusetts, all of Vermont, all but eastern New Hampshire and the all of Maine except a zone within roughly 40 miles of the coast

Not every town in this zone will get a flash flood today or tomorrow, of course, but some storms will repeatedly bulleye some towns and regions, resulting in flash floods.

Yesterday, I noted there would be some adjustments to the forecast position and timing of the strongest storms and sure enough there are.

Broadly, the forecast is on track. NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has at least a slight risk of severe thunderstorms today along the entire western half of the Appalachian chain.

We're still expecting strong and severe thunderstorms to develop in New York State this afternoon, but they'll move a little faster toward the east than I thought yesterday.

This puts Vermont in play for severe thunderstorms later this afternoon and evening, especially the western half of the state. (Had the storms come through later, after daytime heating had ended, the storms would have been weaker.

The Storm Prediction Center has nudged the risk zone of severe thunderstorms into Vermont.

The upshot is across northern New York and Vermont, there could be some strong, damaging winds and torrential rains with the storms this afternoon and evening. The best shot of severe weather in Vermont is probably toward evening.

The only thing that could limit severe weather is that temperatures don't cool all that much with height. (That's called the lapse rate and would increase instability in the atmosphere.)  That could get in the way of a lot of storms forming, which means this evening wouldn't be that big a deal.

But don't count on such a reprieve.

As the National Weather Service in South Burlington, Vermont notes,  there are plenty of examples when conditions are like today's: A so-so lapse rate, but relatively strong upper level winds, hot and humid conditions and an incoming weather disturbance that have touched off a lot of severe storms. So beware.

And we ain't done after this evening.

I broader chance of severe thunderstorms exists in New England Monday.  The flash flood threat rises Monday afternoon almost regionwide, too.

If enough sun breaks through for a time Monday morning, the storms in Vermont and eastern New York could quickly become severe by afternoon. At this point I think the biggest risk of severe thunderstorms, mostly with damaging winds, would be across the eastern half of Vermont, western New Hampshire and western Massachusetts.

I actually wouldn't be totally surprised if there were a brief tornado spin up in western or central Massachusetts.

The broader threat remains localized flash floods on Monday. The air in the Northeast has far more moisture in it than normal, and the deep moisture extends high up into the atmosphere.

That means any storms that do form could contain torrential rains that come down at a rate of one to two inches per hour.

Here in Vermont, the threat of severe storms might diminish during the course of the afternoon, but there will probably still be thunderstorms around with those torrential downpours.

Since the parent cold front is moving so slowly and the air flow is parallel with this weather disturbance, we'll get into that dreaded "training" that I've referred to in past spells of flash flood threats.

As a reminder of what training is, thunderstorms often form into a line. These lines usually move generally west to east perpendicular to the orientation of the line. That means any one spot would only get a thunderstorm for an hour or less. No biggie.

When training happens, thunderstorms within the line move parallel to that line, which often stalls out. The effect of this is one thunderstorm after another moves over the same spot, like a long line of box cars on railroad tracks.

This can last for a few hours, and can result in six inches or more of rain falling in that time, leading to a local flash flood.

Some of Vermont's worst recent flash floods, including a May, 2011 disaster in and around Barre and the epic flash floods during the summer of 1998, were brought on by training thunderstorms.

There's no guarantee there will be any training box car type thunderstorms in Vermont or the rest of New England Monday, but it's something to watch.

Things start to calm down Tuesday, though the threat of heavy rain and flash flooding might linger over eastern New England.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Severe Storms, Risk Of Floods Coming To Northeast Sunday, Monday

Flash flooding, Jericho, Vermont, July 2013. A few
towns in Vermont and the rest of the Northeast could
have trouble like this on Monday.
Heads up people in the Northeast, including here in Vermont: Some rough weather looks like it might be on the way Sunday and especially Monday.

Some towns might be hit with damaging thunderstorms and local flash flooding during this period.

Let's unpack the details:

Sunday, the severe threat extends from northeastern Texas, through the northern Gulf Coast states and especially on up the western side of the Appalachians into northern and western three quarters of New York.

Western and central New York seem to be in the bullseye Monday for strong straight line winds in some storms.

More dangerous might be the very heavy downpours with these storms. Moisture levels through a thick layer of the atmosphere will be high. Storms will move slowly, or "train," meaning one storm after another might move over the same areas

The New York storms will move into Vermont and the rest of western New England Sunday night while weakening. There might be some gusty winds, and especially  heavy downpours, which could prime the pump for some possible flash floods Monday.

Before that happens, a few rogue thunderstorms might pop up in Vermont, New Hampshire and western Massachusetts, but there won't be many of them. It's just that it will be very warm and very humid, so that could be enough to trigger a storm or two.

MONDAY DANGER?

Monday looks like it will be a very busy day across the Northeast,with fairly widespread severe storms, at least by the standards of the Northeast.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center already has an enhanced zone of predicted severe storms from about Washington DC to southern Vermont.  That they would say there's an enhanced risk this far in advance indicates there's quite a bit of confidence that there will be severe storms.

They'll fuss with this forecast between now and Monday. A lot of factors will go into who is most at risk of strong storms Monday.

Like these: Where will the cold front be? How fast will it move? Will sunshine break out in the unstable air ahead of the front, increasing the instability further and increasing the strength of the storms? Where will the fastest upper level winds be, and where will they most likely veer with height, raising the risk of supercell storms?


Damage from flash flooding in Jericho,
Vermont in July, 2013. There's a chance
we could have trouble like this on Monday.
So yeah, lots of questions.
Just be prepared on Monday for the threat of severe storms, maybe even a few supercells, with the potential for very strong winds, maybe even a quick and brief tornado spin up or two almost anywhere in New England, eastern New York and down into the Mid-Atlantic states.
Again, the usual caveat: It's impossible to tell this far in advance which towns will get severe storms and which ones will have nothing much.   
During all this, but especially Monday and Monday night, flash flooding will become a rising concern in Vermont and elsewhere in the Northeast.

 As already noted, the air will have lots of water in it, and this moisture extends way up in the atmosphere. At this point, Monday afternoon and night could feature areas of very torrential downpours with some areas getting repeated dousings during this period.

In mountainous and hilly eastern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and southwestern New England, some areas face the risk of damaging flash floods

This is one of those situations where a few towns are hit hard by severe weather or floods, and a lot of other towns get away with just some bad weather.

The forecast will inevitably change somewhat as the Monday event gets closer, with adjustments in the forecast timing and strength of the potential bad weather.

However, this is just a heads up that we're in for some very active - and maybe locally dangerous -  weather over the next few days.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Southwest U.S. Deserts Are Hot, But This Will Be Ridiculous

Let's hope the air conditioning works well at the Furnace Creek
Inn in Death Valley, California as temperatures there early
next week are forecast to soar to the mid and upper 120s. Yikes!
For many, many reasons, I will not travel to visit the fine community of Bullhead City, Arizona early next week.

The principal reason is the forecast high temperature there is expected to be 122 degrees. Ouch!

Could be worse. As of this morning the forecast for Furnace Creek, California in Death Valley for next Monday is 127 degrees.

It will get "colder" there Tuesday through Thursday, when the forecast highs are only 126 degrees.

Northern Hemisphere deserts are hot in June, of course, but even by the standards of southern California and Arizona, this is going to be ridiculous.

This might end up being a heat wave for the record books in the Southwest.

As The Weather Channel points out, Phoenix might approach its all time record high of 122 degrees early next week.

Tucson, Arizona has only been up to 114 or more eight times since around 1900. They might get a few days next week to add to the total.

Of course, all this is a dry heat, but still wicked, horribly hot.

If you're going to get an extreme heat wave in the desert Southwest, it would be in the middle of June. The sun is at its maximum angle of the year to bake the Earth's surface in the Northern Hemisphere.

Also, the seasonal monsoons, which draw moisture into the Southwest from the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean, don't usually start until July. That moisture usually tamps the heat down.

When it's dry, the temperature can really soar until clear skies.

How dry is it out there? Yesterday, the relative humidity in Tucson was 1 percent. For comparison's sake, here in Vermont, Wednesday was delightfully dry and free of humidity, and even so, the relative humidity was around 30 percent.

The extreme heat will extend early next week up into central California and into Utah, so it is going to be pretty widespread.

By the way, all this heat is extending up into the Sierra Nevada mountains, where there's still a lot of snow left from a very stormy winter.

This snow will melt very fast in this weather, so there might be some flood problems in rivers that come off the mountains.




Thursday, June 15, 2017

Vermont Heat Deaths Show Risk Is Not Just A Southern Thing

Two elderly Vermonters died early this week in the Brattleboro area during the brief but intense heat wave we had, and officials tied those deaths to heat exposure.

At two separate houses, an 87 year old woman and an 87 year old man were found outdoors near their houses, according to the Brattleboro Reformer and VTDigger.

While the medical examiner has not announced an official cause of these deaths, the fact that it looks like they're heat related offers us a warning:

We can get in trouble during hot weather even up here in northern New England.

In fact, in some ways, the problem can be worse. Many homes don't  have air conditioning. (Hey, some parts of New York and Vermont were in the 30s last night - in June!)

Still, the overall trend has been for more summer hot spells and especially hotter, muggier nights, and that can take a toll on  us.

Any hot afternoon can be risky if you don't take care of yourself. That's especially true among the elderly and people who have health problems.

Even healthy, young pups need to be careful, though.

Back in September, 2015, Vermont State Trooper Kyle Young, 28, died of heat exhaustion during a training exercise on a very warm, humid day.  And a younger man who was a logger died while working during record heat in July, 2012 in northern Vermont.

And a study has shown that emergency room visits in New England increase exponentially during hot spells.

More hot, humid spells are inevitable this summer. It's only mid-June, after all. In fact, it will be muggy with temperatures flirting with 90 degrees Sunday afternoon.

So remember these tips for the rest of the summer:

Check on the elderly. Often. Make sure they are in a cool place or take them there, like to the mall or a movie. Make sure they're drinking a lot of liquids.

Take care of yourself, too. There's no need to mow the lawn at 3 p.m. in the afternoon in the sun when the temperature is 95 degrees. Keep drinking that water, and maybe even throw in a sports drink or two.

If you or someone you're with is in hot weather and start experiencing things like heat cramps, nausea, confusion, dizziness, get to a cool place now if not sooner and drink non-caffienated liquids. If it starts to progress to heat stroke, (super high temperature, dry skin, fainting, call 911 pronto.

Take care of your pets, too. Dogs cool off by panting, and there's only so much they can do. My house is not air conditioned, so when it gets too hot, our dogs and I retreat to the cool basement and hang out down there. We make a day of it.

Also remember: If you take your kids and pets on a car trip, don't leave then sitting in a parked vehicle in the sun for even a couple minutes while you run your errands. And when you get home or do your destination, please, please always remember to make sure you've retrieved your kids and pets and anyone else from the car.

There have been too many deaths in hot cars across the country already this summer.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

No Big Storms Here, But Plains States To Take Battering Today For 3rd Day.

Quincy Vagell tweeted this photo of a tornado and
lightning near Grover, Colorado Monday. 
The brief heat blast here in northern New England is slowly coming to an end today, without many fireworks.  

We did have more record highs in Vermont Monday. The temperature of 94 degrees broke a record high in Burlington for the second day in a row.

The day's minimum temperature of 71 set a date record for the warmest minimum temperature for June 12.

Montpelier on Monday had a record high of 88 degrees. So did the summit of Mount Mansfield, at 76 degrees.

Often, when a heat wave ends, as is currently happening, severe thunderstorms break out. But the timing of the front, as noted yesterday is all wrong, so we didn't get severe storms and won't.

There were a few isolated thunderstorms as the cold front sagged south from Canada, but no big deal.

The cold front is moving more slowly than earlier thought, and as of mid-morning the humidity hadn't cleared yet. Plus, an area of showers and thunderstorms along the front will affect portions of Vermont later this morning and early afternoon, especially from about Montpelier south.

Further south, there might be some strong storms in southern New England and the Mid-Atlantic states as the cold front invades the hot weather still sitting over those locations this afternoon.
Aftermath of a big hail storm in Coon Rapids,
Minnesota on Sunday.

While we had nothing scary in terms of storms, the Northern Plains and Front Range area of Colorado and Wyoming and Montana have had lots of bad weather lately.

Sunday, a storm complex and derecho formed in South Dakota, raced across Minnesota, including the Minneapolis area, and on into Wisconsin.

The hail and wind damage was wild with that one, as you can see in the video of the storm below, in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, northwest of Minneapolis.

On Monday, there were 32 preliminary reports of tornadoes, mostly in Wyoming and Nebraska. Luckily, no deaths have been attributed to the twisters, though there were a few injuries and some houses were destroyed in strong tornadoes.

There's a video at the bottom of this post of a destructive tornado in Harrisburg, Nebraska on Monday.

Today the action moves back to the northern and central Plains, especially the eastern halves of the Dakotas (watch the skies, dear relatives of mine in Yankton, South Dakota!) and eastern Nebraska and much of Minnesota and northwestern Iowa.

Not everyone in this region will get severe weather of course, but there is the risk of tornadoes, huge hail and damaging straight line winds.

Back east over Vermont, it'll actually feel almost chilly Wednesday behind the cold front with highs only in the 60s and low 70s and lows in the 40s to around 50.

It'll turn more humid again over the weekend with the risk of showers and storms, but it won't turn super, super hot like it's been the past couple of days. Still maybe uncomfortable on Sunday, though, depending on the timing of weather fronts

Here's the incredible hail and wind storm in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota on Sunday (The filmmaker replaced the cacophony of hail with a nice song:



Next, a news video of so much hail in Coon Rapids, Minnesota Sunday that people had to get their snow blowers out to clear it:



Finally, a destructive tornado in Harrisburg, Nebraska Monday:

Monday, June 12, 2017

"Blowtorch Sunday" Fries Vermont; Just As Hot Today

For those of you who want to cool off from this June
heat wave, here's a giant snowbank after a March
blizzard in Richmond, Vermont.
Boy, Sunday afternoon in Vermont felt like a blowtorch, didn't it?

Record high temperatures, a sun angle as high as it can possibly get (it is June after all) and a hot south wind really made for an impressively hot day.

The temperature reached a record high of 95 degrees in Burlington, besting the old record of 92. Sunday also featured the hottest temperature for so early in the season

Yep, there was a breeze, but at that temperature, the gusts as high as 32 degrees felt like an overactive forced air heater.

Montpelier, Vermont also hit a record high of 88 degrees Sunday. The heat extended far to the north. Caribou, in the northern tip of Maine, had a record high of 91 degrees Sunday afternoon. Bangor, Maine also had a record 91 degrees.

I noticed that, a bit like cold weather in the winter, there weren't all that many people out yesterday, except at the beach, and places like the creemee stand I drove past in Milton.

As you might have noticed, we woke up to a warm morning, and it's breezy. Today looks to be similar to Sunday, with just a couple subtle differences.

A weather disturbance was passing through southern Quebec early this morning. It had a package of showers and thunderstorms with it. A few showers might graze far northern areas this morning before the batch moves on into northern Maine, where a few storms could be strong to severe there this afternoon.

Far northern areas, because of the clouds, could be a degree or two "colder" than Sunday but even there, clearing skies later this morning guarantee another hot day.

Today's record high of 92 degrees in Burlington is definitely under threat.

Like the brief two-day blast of heat that brought record high temperatures in mid-May, we're going to quickly cool off, much like what happened after that May heat.

Unlike the May heat wave, we're not expecting the heat to end in a blast of severe thunderstorms. Atmospheric conditions don't really favor strong storms this time. Plus the cold front is expected to come through Vermont early Tuesday morning, at a time of day that does not favor storms.

Thunderstorms tend to fire up more intensely near cold fronts in the afternoon, when the heat of the sun adds instability to the air.

Even so, a thunderstorm or two could fire up near the Canadian border and on into southern Quebec this evening.

Tuesday morning might start off feeling a bit muggy and warm, but a freshening north wind will make the afternoon feel noticeably more comfortable.

Wednesday's highs, under sunshine, will only be in the 65 to 75 degree range. Cool, but not all that unusual for this time of year.

But with low humidity and cool nights by midweek, expect to have much better sleeping weather midweek.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Did Someone Say Snow? Relax, NOT For Us In New England

Sunset atop Mount Washington, New Hampshire Tuesday as
seen through a railing coverd with ice and frozen snow.
No more snow there in the foreseeable future, but the
mountains of northwestern United States look like they'll
get some over the next several days. 
As we head into summer, it seems all my nightime dreams involve snowfalls.

No, I'm not pining for snow right now, but it seems I've got snow on my brain.

Maybe it's because I've been watching the weather patterns and see signs of snow for the next few days - for the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest, not for us, so relax.

It's true it did snow atop Mount Washington the other day, but the jet stream flow has changed and we can expect a few days of summer weather here in the Northeast and through most of the eastern two-thirds of the nation for that matter.

It's another story for the Cascades of Washington and Oregon, the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, and parts of the high country in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

A deep dip in the jet stream is drawing cold, stormy air from northwestern Canada, and the result will be some June snow in these mountains. 

It's actually not all that unusual for it to snow in the mountains in the part of the country in June, but still, people are worried about early season hikers and campers that aren't ready for cold temperatures and wet snow.

Already, a winter weather advisory - in June - is up for the Lassen Park area of California for four to eight inches of high elevation snow. Other advisories might go up for the northwestern United States mountains over the weekend and into early next week.

There was already a LOT of snow in many western mountains from a stormy winter. In Wyoming, things have gotten ugly, and the turn to colder weather toward Tuesday there could actually help.

Ahead of the approaching cold front it is quite warm in Wyoming and surrounding parts of Idaho and Montana. That has created some serious snow melt flooding and things will probably get worsre today and Saturday as thunderstorms unleash heavy rain atop this melting snow.

Forecasters are urging voluntary evacuations in some river valleys of central Wyoming. Also,  the Wind River at Riverton, Wyoming has reached a record crest.

Although people in this area will be relieved at the colder weather by Tuesday, I'm sure they won't appreciate the additional snowfall in the mountains, which will eventually have to melt.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Hot Times Coming To New England, But If You Think 90 Is Bad......

People try to escape the heat in Lahore, Pakistan recently.
Photo from Getty Images
A spate of summer weather is finally heading toward New England, as temperatures over the past couple of days have climbed to seasonable levels, and will go upward even more by Sunday.

Sunday through Tuesday across the Northeast will see highs well into the 80s in most of northern New England, with 90s thrown in from central New England and points south.

Many people welcome the summer heat, though some people who work outside dread it.

Some record highs will probably fall in several cities from the Rockies to the East Coast over the next few days, but this won't be the nastiest heat wave ever

It could be worse, though..

 However, as I perused Dr. Jeff Masters's Catagory 6 weather blog recently, I found news of some truly awful heat elsewhere in the world.

In the blog, guest writer Maximiliano Herrera detailed incredible heat records that hit big sections of the Middle East, east Asia and parts of Europe in late May and early June.

On May 28, the temperature reached 128.3 degrees in Turbat, Pakistan, making it the hottest May temperature recorded anywhere on Earth ever.

Oman and Pakistan had their all time hottest temperatures. Not hottest for the date or the month. I'm talking hottest ever.

In Iran, the temperature reached 127 degrees, Oman broke its all time record high of 123,

Of course, they're used to heat in the deserts of the Mideast and in places like Pakistan and India, but not like this Extreme heat of this nature is very, very dangerous.

For instance, we know at least 10 people died in an extreme heat wave in parts of India this week, and that toll will likely rise.

In Europe, Norway had its hottest May temperature on record with 90 degrees, and Austria also had its hottest May reading on record at 95 degrees at the end of the month.

One weird record high was set at the top of a 15,584 mountain in the Italian Alps when the temperature reached 42 degrees.  Chilly, yes, but still a record high for that elevation.

Enjoy summer!



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Too Many Reasons To Count Why Trump's Withdrawel From Paris Accord Was Dumb

Donald Trump apparently using his fingers to demonstrate
the firepower of his tiny intellect, including in
relations to climate change. 
I've always said the most dangerous people in the world are those who think they are really smart but are instead really dumb.

By withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord Thursday, President Donald Trump proved that point bigly, to borrow a fake word from our Dear Leader.

Heads up: Expect a lot more vitriol from me in this column than you're used to, but I just have to unload.

There are so many things wrong with Trump's "logic" about getting out of the Paris accord that I don't know where to start.

Let's start by pretending that climate change is indeed fake, an falsehood that Trump says is a product of evil Chinese trying to gain economic advantage over the United States, as Trump's paranoia would have it.

I know, I know, climate change is actually real, but go with me here.

By bailing on the Paris Accord, Trump has made the United States less trustworthy on the world's stage, a task he's already been accomplishing anyway.

Since the rest of the world - except the illustrious global leaders Syria and Nicaragua - are on board with the Paris Accord, other leading countries in Europe and Asia are more likely to go it without us on this issue, and anything else that comes up that's important to the world.

This weakens our negotiating position on any number of topics - trade, war, political stability. Trump claims to be this great negotiator, yet he weakened his - our - bargaining position. Nice job, Donald.

"President Trump has turned his back on the world on an issue they care deeply about....This will have repercussions for how other countries respond to the U.S., not just on the climate playing field, but well beyond," said Andrew Light, a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute and a former State Department officials who focused on climate change during the Obama administration.

Speaking of negotiation, Trump claims he will negotiated a newer, better Paris Accord, one that is more advantageous to the United States.

It takes two ( or more) to tango, and already, major countries are saying they're unwilling to reopen negotiations.  What's Donald going to do, talk to himself? Oh yeah, he does that already, at least probably.

Oh, and remember how I mentioned Trump's paranoia about China?  Well, he just handed them a major victory.

As Huffington Post points out:

"'This move from Trump also gives China the chance to "cast themselves as the new champions of globalization,'  says Andrew Small, a China expert at the Marshall Fund think tank.

'Politically, Beijing sees this as a gift-wrapped opportunity to position itself as a responsible global leader at the expense of the United States,' Small said. 'For countries that see climate change as an existential issue - not least the European leaders who are meeting the Chinese PM for their summit this week - closer cooperation with China now becomes a necessity.'"

In other words, Trump is putting the United States out of the loop. And ceding world leadership to countries like China.

Trump claims the withdrawal from the Paris agreement is meant to boost United States business success and job creation.

If that's the case, why did so many major U.S. corporations implore Trump to stick with the Paris accord?  These businesses famously included fossil fuel behemoths like Exxon-Mobil, Shell and Chevron.

PolitiFact had a field day picking apart Trump's nearly fact-free speech announcing the withdrawal from the Paris Accord.

Trump said the pact would create a $3 trillion drop in United States gross domestic product, and we'd lose 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040.

Says Politifact:

"All of these statistics come from a March, 2017 study, prepared by NERA Economic Consulting, that estimates the potential impact of hypothetical regulatory actions necessary to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. The study makes assumptions that gave several economics and environmental professors pause when reacting to the NERA study for ClimateFeedback.org."

I'll say!

The assumptions in the study that Trump apparently bought hook, line and sinker include:

--- That other countries don't make emission reductions in line with the Paris agreement, forcing leading American companies to relocate to other nations.

 -- Industries and static and don't change to adapt to regulations.

--- There is no increase in clean electricity generation compared to a baseline scenario.

In other words, not only does Trump peddle fake news, he also peddles fake studies.

On the bright side, people are starting to get adept at just ignoring Trump, and making end runs around him.

According to Reuters:

"Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg submitted a statement to the United Nations on Monday that over 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses, universities and others will continue to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement abandoned by President Donald Trump last week.

Bloomberg, who is the U.N. Secretary-General's special envoy for cities and climate change, submitted the "We Are Still In" declaration to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa."

Of course I'm happy Bloomberg is organizing this, and I'm also glad that here in Vermont, Gov. Phil Scott, a moderate  Republican, said the Green Mountain State will also join the coalition to adhere to the Paris climate accord.

It's still shockingly disappointing though, that the supposed leader of the free world, Donald Trump, can't seem to lead anything. If thousands if not millions of people can get ahead of Trump on issues of great worldwide importance, it's really sad.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Finally Some Gorgeous June Weather, But Interesting Things Still Coming (Maybe)

Clouds with a severe thunderstorm in Colchester, Vermont
last week. More strong storms are possible late in the
weekend and early next week.
It was so nice to get up this morning and go outside into a genuinely gorgeous June dawn here in St. Albans, Vermont.

Everything - the trees and gardens - were dripping wet and fragrant from yesterday's soaking rain. The sky above was gorgeous blue, and the day promises to be sunny and dry and perfect.

Yes, most of you were in dense fog early this morning, but you should be in the clear by the time you read this. Or almost everybody, anyway.

Enjoy today, because more "interesting" weather might be on the way. Don't worry, we're not talking about a cold June gloom again, but the weather pattern for the next few days is looking kinda active.

Thursday should be half way decent, too, though we can't rule out an isolated afternoon shower or thundershower.

On Friday, a nor'easter of all things will be lurking off the New England coast. At this point, it's looking like it just might be far enough off the coast to avoid another super cold soaker, but we're still watching it.

In any event, the nor'easter's upper level support will be over New England, so expect a fair number of showers in Vermont and the rest of New England and northern New York Friday into Saturday morning.

Then -- summer returns. However, it won't necessarily be all clear skies.

A "heat ridge" basically a northward bulge in the jet stream, will set up shop over the eastern third of the nation Sunday through at least Tuesday.

That means a surge of very warm and humid air into our area then. Forecasters are very confident of this. Expect 80s, maybe even a 90 or two Sunday afternoon, Monday and Tuesday.

But here's the tricky part. Sometimes, when a heat ridge sets up like this, strong to severe thunderstorms originate in the Great Lakes region and ride along the northern edge of these heat ridges.

We will be on the northern edge of the heat ridge. There is a possibility of strong to severe storms, especially in northern New England, Sunday through Tuesday.  The center of the ridge could be just a wee bit to our west, so the thunderstorms, if they form, might end up blasting down from the northwest on the front side of the ridge.

In these situations, the storms coming in from the northwest, rather than the southwest, can be particularly strong, at least in my experience.

This idea of strong storms is still a HUGE maybe.  I'd still take the idea of big storms Sunday and onward with a big grain of salt.

Perhaps the storms will go further to the north than we think now. Or, enough hot air will "cap" the atmosphere, discouraging the strong updrafts that are necessary for thunderstorms. Or there won't be a "trigger" a weak disturbance in the upper level air flow to get the storms going. It's all a delicate dance as to whether the storms form or not.

We won't know any more specifics until the day of.  In other words, check the forecasts each morning Sunday through Tuesday to see if we're in for any kind of rough weather.

Just count on continued iffy weather here and there going forward.

But enjoy today. Once the fog lifts, it will be the finest possible June day.