Here's a little trivia that may leave you gagging on your corn flakes. On Wednesday it was 85 in Anchorage, about 15 degrees warmer than we were. Alaska is experiencing unusual, near-record warmth, while the jet stream is temporarily "locked" in a pattern that brings cooler, drier air across Canada into Minnesota and Wisconsin. Will this mean light jackets and disgruntled natives all summer long? Place your bets. My take: we will see a condensed, somewhat abbreviated summer, but with drought a constant concern across much of the state, fewer 90 degree days than average (we should see about 13 if this is a "normal" summer) and less severe weather than usual.
(Update: 12:30 pm. Doppler radar shows a cluster of moderate/heavy showers and possible embedded thundershowers moving from west to east across far southern Minnesota. Most of the rain should stay south of the MN River, a few showers grazing the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities this afternoon. Another band of instability showers/T-showers may approach from northern MN later this afternoon).
* 71 in St. Cloud Thursday, 73 in the Twin Cities, about 6-8 degrees cooler than average.
* Lingering instability kicks off a few late-day showers today, Saturday, even Sunday.
* Best chance of 1-3 hours of late-day rain comes over the northern third of Minnesota over the weekend.
* Sunday: warmer day, shot at 80 if the sun stays out much of the day (likely over central and southern Minnesota).
* String of 80s next week? It should start to feel a bit more like summer, beginning on Sunday.
* Persistent wind flow out of Canada will probably mean a cooler, drier June than normal across most of Minnesota. Nagging drought over southeastern and east central counties may spread across the rest of central and southern Minnesota by late June, unless the pattern breaks.
The bottom line: our weather is not going to be very summery until the latter half of next week, when daytime highs will rise consistently above the 80-degree mark. If you plan your weekend adventures for morning and midday hours you should be ok. All in all I give the weekend weather a B- up north (because of late-day showers) and a B+ in central and southern counties, where the sun will be out most of the day Saturday and Sunday.
I can't get enough of this stuff - check out the latest simulation of Earth, and which countries are in daylight vs. darkness. For the very latest full screen graphic click here.
Interested in star-gazing? Astronomy is huge in Minnesota, and nights should be clear to partly cloudy the next couple of nights, Canadian air resulting in less haze and humidity than usual this time of year. This handy graphic shows, hour by hour, the expected quantity and thickness of the clouds for Minnesota. It's not perfect, but it's another potentially useful tool if you want to gaze up at the Big Dipper or check out some lucky shooting stars after dark. To get the very latest prediction click here (and don't forget to hit refresh on your browser).
Today: Sunny start, increasing midday clouds. Best chance of a late-day shower or T-shower comes north of St. Cloud, closer to Brainerd and Duluth. Winds: W/SW 5-15. High: 76
Tonight: Partial clearing, cooling down. Low: 53
Saturday: Sun much of the day. 1 in 3 chance of a late-day T-shower. Better chance of a late PM storm or two up north. Winds: SW 10-15. High: 77
Sunday: More sun, warmer. An isolated shower or T-shower up north. High: 81
Monday: Plenty of sun, temperatures near normal. High: 80
Tuesday: Mix of clouds and sun, comfortable. High: 79
Wednesday: Warm sun, still quiet (and dry). High: 82
Thursday: Less sun, more humid. T-storms likely PM hours. High: 84
Friday: Sticky and warm with intervals of sun. Stray late-day thunder. High: 82
Saturday (June 20): Unsettled, dry and sunny much of the day, but we can't rule out a late-day T-storm or two. High: 83