Twin Cities June 21st Mega-Storm

The video below has meteorologist Paul Douglas talking about the big storm we had in the Twin Cities a few days ago (from his excellent series of climate change and weather related videos). The storm actually followed on a number of days with a fair amount of rain, and up here in the northern part of the Twin Cities, we had a pretty bad blow with high wind gusts and lots of rain the day before. But on the 21st, a storm swept mainly through the Western Suburbs and Minneapolis, but actually a much wider area than that. I drove down to pick up Julia near Roseville yesterday, a couple of days after the storm went through, and had to change directions four times because of roads being closed, three of those due to the storm (one had to do with a stuck semi, I think unrelated). At present over 10,000 Twin Cities people are without power, and we are having a heat wave. At least one major grocery store in the Western Suburbs (probably several but I only have direct knowledge of one) had to throw out huge quantities of food that they could not refrigerate. Many areas of the city of Minneapolis were left essentially un-navigable, due to down trees and power lines. As Paul points out in his video this was roughly like a 20+ mile wide F0 tornado passing through the area. That's a great analogy for Twin Cities people because we have tornadoes here. As a person from the East Coast, I might also say it was roughly like a somewhat diminutive Category I hurricane going through (though the hurricane would have lasted an hour or more rather than 20 minutes or more at that intensity).

Anyway, have a look at the video, which is produced by Weather Nation's Paul Douglas:

Welcome to the new normal.
Photo from the Pioneer Press.

More like this

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011: That is a day people around here will never forget. I remember standing in the maw of my open garage holding an iPad with the weather radar running on it. The weather map showed that a tornado was on top of me. Amanda, Julia and Huxley were in the basement preparing for…
UPDATE: Our sirens are back on, but I don't see anything. But, down in Minneapolis, I'm seeing the damage to the Electric Fetus. Bricks stripped off the outside wall, and broken windows in front, so they are shut down. The Mayor stopped by a minute ago, apparently. I wonder if they'll have a…
It is time to discuss, once again, the falsehood known as "Hurricane Landfall." A hurricane is a whopping big thing. A hurricane can be bigger than some states. The physical region across which a hurricane is potentially deadly and damaging is very large, many tens of miles across, sometimes a…
I woke up this morning to find about a dozen reports on my iPad Damage app indicating trees down and hail damage in many communities from Mankato to Edina, south of the Twin Cities. More of the same. We have been having severe weather for about a month now, or a bit less. One day in late May, Julia…

Aw, man, the same thing happened to my parents' car back in '81. Tornado, that time. Also in Minneapolis. Of course, that tornado back in the day lightly smashed one street. This storm appears to have lightly smashed an entire city.

The national power outage graph was especially freaky. "Nice" to know it's not just perception, there actually have been way more power failures due to severe weather over the last decade.

Toward the end of the video the guy mentions the large increase (x10 from 2000 to 2008) in weather-related power grid disruptions. That's something we have all too much experience with in New Hampshire: there have been five major incidents in the last five years (ice storm, winter gale, snow in October, and two tropical storms), including at least three where more than 40% of the state's electric customers lost power. As in the Twin Cities, trees are a major culprit.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 26 Jun 2013 #permalink

Given the cost to repair these outages, and given that as GCC increases so will the occurrence of "freak" storms, I wonder when it will become more economical to bury the power grid underground where it will be far less susceptible to weather related interruptions.

By Doug Alder (not verified) on 30 Jun 2013 #permalink

The City of Minneapolis is seriously considering burying its power grid.

We could also solve this problem by cutting down almost every tree in the city. After all, what are trees good for? All they do is drop leaves, ON PURPOSE, everywhere, and sap... awful sticky sap! Who needs that!!!! We should just cut down all the trees.