Friday, July 31, 2009

Nice Storm Friday Night, Drink it in Twin Cities

I spent part of the night at a local restaurant with family and friends knowing that there would be activity on the radar at some point during the evening. With the touch of a button I had the radar at the ready (it's too easy now-a-days with cell phones, technology is great!)
Of course, the Satellite TV went out - Twins game in extra innings and I was on the spot. What's happening with the weather Todd? OHHH! It looks good! One of my friends takes a look at the radar with me and mentions "We haven't seen a whole lot of red and orange on the radar this year, have we?"


It definitely looked good on radar, but take a look at what Tadd Parris from Excelsior, MN caught on Friday evening as storms approached Hollywood, MN on Hwy 7 West of the Twin Cities Metro.



The image above is the radar at the time when Tadd Parris captured the photo. Notice how the intense red colors in the radar bow out like a boomerang or a backwards "C" - It's not a classic "Bow Echo" but it certainly had characteristics of an outflow dominate storm or one that would produce wind damage. In fact, the storm was a heavy wind producer before it crossed the Minnesota - South Dakota border, look at the storm reports from Friday evening. The blue dots are wind damage reports where thunderstorms winds topped 60mph.


The good news, we didn't have any severe weather and most of us across the state had a nice quick soaker. Radar rain estimates show anywhere from 0.25" to 0.50" with some spots getting even more than that! The conveted Rain Gauge Award is yet to be announced, so stay tuned.

Weekend Headlines

- Saturday: Windiest day, northwest winds gust to 25, even 30 mph during the afternoon with a few spotty showers in northern MN.
- Sunday: Warmer day, better chance of sampling 80 degrees up at the lake (or river). More sunshine and less windy.

Todd's Weekend Weather Outlook

Saturday: Damp start, clouds give way to partly sunny conditions, breezy, cooler with a spotty shower or two possible (mainly north). Winds: NW 10-20 (gusts to 25 in the afternoon). High: 76

Tonight: Partly cloudy and cooler. Low 54

Sunday: Sunnier, warmer, a fine summer day. Winds: W/NW 5-15. High: 82

Monday: Plenty of sun, still lukewarm. High: near 80

Tuesday: More clouds, fleeting shower or thundershower. High: 79

Wednesday: Sun giving way to increasing clouds. High: 82

Thursday: Showers/storms possible early, then clearing. High: 80

(GFS computer hinting at a few 90s the second week of August. At the rate we're going this summer don't hold your breath).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A July of Wild Extremes

Weekend Headlines

- Best chance of rain: tonight, few hours of showers and storms.

- Warmer day: Sunday, better chance of sampling 80 degrees up at the lake (or river).

- Windiest day: Saturday, northwest winds gust to 25, even 30 mph during the afternoon.

- Temperatures average 5-10 degrees cooler than normal.

- Risk of severe weather? Close to zero.

- Dew points: 40s and 50s, more like mid September than early August, unusually dry.


Satellite Image (late Thursday). If you click on the image and take it full screen you can see the hit-or-miss showers and thundershowers that popped up Thursday afternoon/evening in response to strong instability over Minnesota. A more stable airmass should result in more sun today with highs near 80 before the next cool front arrives with showers and a few T-storms Friday night.

WRF/NMM Model valid Saturday evening at 7 pm. This field shows expected rainfall between 1 pm and 7 pm Saturday - showers and storms pushing east across Wisconsin, most of Minnesota experiencing a dry day, with the possible exception of far northern Minnesota, where a few late-day (pop-up) instability showers are possible.

Paul's Weekend Weather Outlook


Today: Plenty of sun, warmer, drier than yesterday. Winds: SW 10-20. High: near 80

Tonight: Showers arrive, a few claps of thunder possible. Low: 56

Saturday: Damp start, clouds give way to partly sunny conditions, breezy, cooler. Winds: NW 10-20 (gusts to 25 in the afternoon). High: 76

Sunday: Sunnier, warmer, a fine summer day. Winds: W/NW 5-15. High: 82

Monday: Plenty of sun, still lukewarm. High: near 80

Tuesday: More clouds, fleeting shower or thundershower. High: 79

Wednesday: Sun giving way to increasing clouds. High: 82

Thursday: Showers/storms possible early, then clearing. High: 80

(GFS computer hinting at a few 90s the second week of August. At the rate we're going this summer don't hold your breath).

Just when you think you've seen everything...along comes a year like 2009. Weather is always variable, changeable, zigging and zagging from one extreme to the next. The concept of "normal" or "average" weather is a joke, a statistical fluke, bearing no resemblance to reality.


Even so, when the Canadian Yukon is 10-20 degrees warmer than Minnesota, on a consistent basis, day after day in July, a mere MONTH after the Summer Solstice, meteorologists start to scratch their heads. Here's why we're all a bit dazed, shell-shocked right about now:

- Coolest July in 17 years for the USA and North America.

- Many towns in northern Minnesota are experiencing one of the 10 coolest July's since accurate, reliable weather records were first started in the late 1800s. International Falls may have just seen the coolest July ever. At least it didn't snow (thank God). July is STILL the only month in Minnesota where flurries haven't been reported - officially - somewhere in the state. Talk about a vaguely terrifying statistic!

- Cooler, drier weather is responsible for a tornado drought. We should have seen 21 twisters as of late July. So far only 9 tornadoes have formed from the Dakota line to the St. Croix River.

- 70 in Barrow, Alaska yesterday, mid 80s in Fairbanks, 10 degrees warmer than most Minnesota towns. Much of western Canada has been experiencing record heat with a string of 90-degree highs as far north as the Yukon!

- 103 in Seattle on Wednesday, a new record for July 29.

- Portland, Oregon has set a string of records, highs above 100 degrees every day this week. These readings are 20-25 degrees warmer than "normal" for late July. Keep in mind most residents of the Pacific Northwest don't own air conditioning. They haven't needed it, at least not until this summer.

- While the west bakes and sizzles, unusually cool weather is gripping much of American east of the Mississippi.

- New England just had its third coolest July ever, lagging only 1962 and 2000.

- New York City @ Central Park: 16.5" of rain in July, second wettest on record.

- Little Rock, Arkansas: wettest July on record.

We just ricochet from one extreme to the next, like a meteorological version of Pac Man!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thundery-Showers

[Yes, I too am bummed that Mr. Favre will not be wearing purple and gold anytime soon. Although he never visited (personally) one of his wife's best friends flew to MSP to look at rental homes 2 weeks ago. They went through our home in Eden Prairie and inquired about pets (Brett wanted to bring his favorite black lab to Minnesota) and he liked our old neighborhood because it would be close to a nearby Catholic school for his 10 year old daughter. We were talking with their realtors, and like everyone else in the state, waiting, wondering, hoping he'd decide to take one more calculated risk and light up the Metrodome. No such luck. So close....oh well, it was a nice fantasy while it lasted...]


Paul's Outlook


Thursday: Mostly cloudy, cooler, a few passing showers and T-storms, locally heavy rain. Winds: NW 5-15. High: 74

Thursday night: Evening shower, Partial clearing late, cool. Low: 55

Friday: Plenty of warm sunshine - feels like summer again! High: 82

Friday night: Showers, possible thunder. Low: 63

Saturday: Damp start, clouds give way to plenty of sun by afternoon, breezy, cooler. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 77

Saturday night: Clearing, chilly start to August. Low: 53

Sunday: Lot's of sun, cool and comfortable. A few patchy PM clouds, but probably dry. High: 75

Monday: Partly cloudy, breezy, warmer - slight chance of a passing shower. High: 82

Tuesday: Lot's of blue sky, a few degrees cooler. High: 78

Wednesday: Mostly sunny, pleasantly mild. High: 76


Rainfall Last week, courtesy of the DNR Waters Division and the MN State Climatology Office. Much of central Minnesota experienced ample rains (along with the eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities) but there was virtually NO rain over far southwestern Minnesota and much of the Red River Valley. Coupled with cooler than normal weather this growing dry rut may take an increasing toll on Minnesota's fall harvest.

July 2009 is just a few days shy of making headlines as the coolest July on record for International Falls, MN and in the top ten coolest July's on record for Duluth, MN. Here are the stats:

Average July Temperatures:

Interational Falls: -7.3° (Coolest on record)
Duluth: -3.1° (Top ten coolest on record)
St. Cloud: -3.3°
Twin Cities: -2.9°
Rochester: -4.5°

While we've been anywhere from 2 to 9 degrees cooler than average, the western U.S. and Canada has been sizzling. Yesterday, with our new "Meteo Earth" technology that we've been showing off during our video weather reports, we were able to show real-time temperatures in the 80s to near 90 all across the Canadian Yukon, the Northwest Territories, much of Alaska right up to the Arctic Circle. There's this crazy imbalance: cool weather from Minnesota into the Great Lakes and New England, while the western regions of North America are BAKING through one of the hottest July's on record. Makes no sense.

Along the leading edge of each reinforcing surge of cool, Canadian air a "short wave", a wrinkle of chilly air aloft, is sparking showers and thunderstorms. One such disturbance arrives Thursday with a few hours of rain, keeping temperatures cooler than normal, holding in the 60s over most of Minnesota. Rainfall amounts should be light (nothing new there), under a third of an inch for the Twin Cities, maybe .10 to .20" for St. Cloud, and little or no rain north of Brainerd.

The sun returns Friday as temperatures surge toward 80 degrees, but yet another cool zinger sparks more showers Friday night into the breakfast hour Saturday. Skies rapidly clear out on Saturday with sunshine probably the rule most of Saturday and all day Sunday. Yes, this weekend will be cooler than average, to the tune of 5-10 degrees below normal. Highs hold in the mid 70s for the Twin Cities and St. Cloud, but I could see highs in the upper 60s and low 70s for many northern lakes this weekend, a bit cool for the lake, but tolerable. Nights will be brisk, bordering on chilly, ranging from mid 40s to low 50s. Another taste of late September for your camping/swimming/grilling enjoyment. Take an extra blanket, sweat shirt and a few more logs for the fireplace.

WRF/NMM Model Temperatures at 1 pm Saturday. Readings may hold in the 60s over much of northern Minnesota, topping 70 south/east of Little Falls and Mille Lacs - winds blowing from the northwest. Meanwhile readings from St. Louis to Chicago should climb close to 90 Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mankato's Missing Person... Dream Dead.

Todd's Outlook

Wednesday: Sunny start, then increasing clouds. Rain possible late, continuing into Wednesday night . High: 78

Wednesday Night: Scattered showers and isolated storms. Low: 58

Thursday: Damp, gray start, then turning partly sunny and brisk - cooler again. High: 71

Friday: Warm sun, feels like summer. High: 79

Saturday: Cooler with morning sun, PM clouds, few showers (best chance northern lakes). High: 77

Sunday: Clouds increase, slight chance of late-day showers. High: 76

Monday: Still waiting for the Dog Days. Partly cloudy, plenty of fresh air. High: 77

I have to admit, I bought into the whole Bret Favre Viking thing and now I'm even more disappointed that the dream is dead. I know that there were a lot of people against the whole thing from the beginning, but I bought it - hook, line and sinker - and I feel used! Is the "As the Favre Turns" saga over? Probably. Is it the best thing for the Vikings?? I don't know, but it definitely would have been interesting to see Favre in purple. *SIGH*

In other news, July 2009 is just a few days shy of making headlines as the coolest July on record for International Falls, MN and in the top ten coolest July's on record for Duluth, MN. Here are the #'s:

Average July Temperatures:
Interational Falls: -7.3° (Coolest on record)
Duluth: -3.1° (Top ten coolest on record)
St. Cloud: -3.3°
Twin Cities: -2.9°
Rochester: -4.5°


The Upper Level Wind Tells the Tale:

The persistent low pressure system over the Hudson Bay is the reason for our continued cool this July over the Great Lakes. Sure, we've had some warm days, but the prevailing northwesterly winds have been constantly cycling cool, Canadian, air into the region.

Is There an End in Sight?

Long range computer models are hinting at a pattern shift. This forecast for next Tuesday - notice how the jet stream slides farther north along with that pesky low pressure system near the Hudson Bay. A developing storm in the Pacific Ocean will give the cool air a boot... Finally! The other good news, there's still plenty of summer to go around.

Rain on the Way:

The image above shows the 6 hour accumulated rainfall from midnight Thursday to 6am Thursday. Latest computer models print out 0.25" to 0.50" in spots around central and southern Minnesota. Thursday morning's commute may be slower than normal, so you may want to plan ahead. Spotty showers and isolated storms will continue Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Keep in mind that the weekend will not be a washout, but plan for a couple of hours of showers... Stay tuned.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stuck in a Cool Rut

A July with no 90s? According to Pete Boulay at the MN State Climate Office that hasn't happened since 1994. Come to think of it there were no 90s in July in either 1992, 1993 or 1994. So it's unusual, but not unprecedented. You have to go back 15 years to find a similar (almost comfortable) July.


MSP Almanac


July temperatures for MSP: 3.2 degrees cooler than average (so far).

Only 1.52"of rain has fallen on the metro area so far in July. A mere 9.48" of rain has fallen on the Twin Cities since January 1. Last year 12.87" of rain had fallen as of July 27. According to long-term National Weather Service records we should have seen 16.97" of rain in the metro area as of this date, a nearly 7 1/2" rainfall deficit which explains the severe drought conditions across most of the area.


WRF/NMM Model for 7 am Thursday morning
, showing predicted accumulated rainfall between 1 am and 7 am Thursday morning. Significant rain is possible over central and southeastern Minnesota ahead of the next reinforcing cool front, the best chance of some 1-2" amounts south and east of the Twin Cities. We're still in a severe drought spanning the entire metro area, so a midweek soaking would be just what the Weather Doctor ordered.


Paul's Outlook

Tuesday: Plenty of sun, breezy, cooler. Winds: NW 15-25. High: 76

Tuesday night: Mostly clear and comfortably cool, bordering on chilly! Low: 52

Wednesday: Sunny start, then increasing clouds. Rain possible late, continuing into Wednesday night (heaviest amounts probably south/east of St. Cloud). High: 77

Thursday: Damp, gray start, then turning partly sunny and brisk - cooler again. High: 74

Friday: Warm sun, feels like summer. High: 83

Saturday: Cooler with morning sun, PM clouds, few showers (best chance northern lakes). High: 77

Sunday: Clouds increase, slight chance of late-day showers. High: 76

Monday: Still waiting for the Dog Days. Partly cloudy, plenty of fresh air. High: 74



Weather Information Table
Precipitation and Temperature Summary for 7/20/2009 through 7/26/2009

Temperature Precipitation G D D
High Low Week Depart Week Depart From Norm Since Depart
Ave from Total Past Four Since May from
Norm Week Weeks 4/1 4 Norm
Aitkin          78  41  58.8  -8.2    3.42  2.36   .17  -1.24   881   -70
Forest Lake 80 50 62.9 -8.2 .38 -.63 -1.76 -7.38 1128 -77
Hinckley 75 41 58.0 -10.3 1.99 .97 -.82 -5.08 863 -135
MSP Airport 82 53 66.4 -7.1 .04 -.85 -2.67 -7.17 1269 -44
St. Paul - UofM 79 50 64.3 -8.6 .06 -.91 -2.96 -8.91 1230 -55
Temperatures last week ran 7-10 degrees cooler than average for the third week of July. Hinckley was chilliest, reporting a week with temperatures more than 10 degrees cooler than what they should be. Moisture was fickle: only .04" at MSP International Airport, while 3.42" of rain soaked Aitkin. Since April 1 St. Paul is showing a nearly 9" rainfall deficit; generally east metro is drier than west metro. The column on the far right is "Growing Degree Days", the cooler weather means plant growth is generally not as far along as it should be by the end of July. There is a wealth of information at the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Click here to see the latest information (week by week) for Minnesota.

No 90s in July

July is, historically, Minnesota's warmest month of the year. That may be true (on paper) but so far July, 2009 is running 3.3 degrees F. cooler than average and we have yet to sample 90 degrees. That's right: we saw a couple of 90s back in May (remember 97 on May 19?) Predictions of a stifling, sizzling summer? It sure didn't work out that way, did it.

While we dodge ill-timed Canadian cool fronts much of the northern hemisphere is seeing plenty of heat and humidity. According to NOAA unusually cool weather has gripped central and eastern Canada, and the northern tier states of the U.S. from the Dakotas to New England. No kidding. But Siberia has been unusually warm. So has much of central Asia, Scandinavia, the Arctic, Alaska and the western and southern U.S. Looking at land and ocean temperatures across the entire Earth, June was the second warmest - worldwide - since 1890, according to NOAA. I know, you'd never know it opening up your window, at least not in Minnesota. That's why climate change is such a tough topic. Not only has the science been politicized, data parsed and in many cases cherry-picked, but it requires a global perspective - not just keeping an eye on the back yard thermometer but following what's happening in scientific journals and taking a serious, open-minded look at the ongoing scientific record.



I've been trying to do this with ClimateSpot, an on-line journal focused on climate and weather stories I find timely and interesting. Check it out if you have time.

Just back from the cabin, slightly sunburnt but happy to have spent some quality time with my toes dug in the (hot) sugar sand up on Pelican Lake. I was serenaded by Elvis up at Breezy Point Saturday evening, saw a handful of shooting stars amidst the spiderweb of the Milky Way, a spectacular sight on a clear, cool, moonless night. Sunday those pesky, persistent winds finally eased up, temperatures shot up into the low and mid 80s - it was a perfect day across most of the state. My oldest son caught a 4 pound Northern Pike without really trying, my youngest boy tested out his favorite hammock and caught up on some serious zzzz's. Sitting on my favorite Adirondack chair I was startled when a giant shadow fluttered over my head - I looked up to see an American Eagle, with what looked like a 4-5 foot wingspan, flying directly overhead. Truly a breathtaking sight. Yes, it was Sunday the way it was probably meant to be in late July.

This week will start out seasonably warm today, more 80s expected, but the approach of cooler air may set off a fleeting shower or thundershower almost anytime today. A series of cool fronts puffing south of the border will keep us a good 5-10 degrees below average most of the week as the jet stream buckles southward once again - another taste of mid September is brewing from Minnesota to Maine. A huge cut-off low tracking just north of International Falls will keep us cooler than average through the weekend, wind-blown showers brushing the northern third of Minnesota next Saturday. In fact I'm going to go out on a limb and predict significantly cooler than normal weather will hang on through the first full week of August. I think we'll see a rerun of 80s the second week of August, but for the next 10+ days we'll see highs mostly in the 70s, lows dipping into the 50s many nights.

GFS 500 mb Prediction for next Sunday morning at 7 am. This shows expected winds about 18,000 feet above the ground. The unusually strong low pressure system tracking just north of Minnesota is about 400-500 miles farther south than it should be, a pattern which has been remarkably persistent most of July. Note the 90-100 mph "speed max" of wind velocity passing directly over southern Minnesota. If there were enough low-level moisture I'd be concerned about this feature sparking a severe weather outbreak. It's still possible over the weekend, but moisture should be somewhat limited, and that may help us avoid a widespread outbreak of nasty storms.

GFS Prediction for 1 pm temperatures next Sunday. Highs holding in the 50s over northern Minnesota? It's a distinct possibility as a cut-off low limps to our north, yanking unseasonably (unreasonably) cool air southward in its wake. If this model is accurate the Canadian Yukon may be warmer than much of Minnesota next weekend! Go figure....

Summer Lite continues.

Air Conditioning Optional (most days).

Severe Weather? Little or no threat of hail & high water anytime soon.

The Drought? It'll get worse before conditions (possibly) improve this fall.

Just when you thought our weather couldn't get any goofier...

Paul's Outlook

Today: Patchy clouds - unsettled with a passing shower or thunderstorm possible. Winds: West 5-15. High: 83

Tonight: Evening shower in some areas, then clearing, turning cooler. Low: 58

Tuesday: Partly cloudy, breezy, cooler again. High: 76

Wednesday: Sunny start, clouds increase. Showers/storms possible Wed. night. High: 75

Thursday: Showers taper, clouds give way to some PM sun. High: 76

Friday: Sunny and warmer - a hint of normal late-July weather. High: 82

Saturday: Passing shower, then mostly cloudy, windy and cooler. High: 76

Sunday: More clouds than sun, gusty - cool. Showers over northern Minnesota. High: 74

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday - All around nicer day

Todd's Outlook

Today: More sun, fewer clouds, still a slight chance of an isolated late-day shower or T-shower. Winds: W 5-15 High: 83

Tonight: Increasing clouds. Low: 66

Monday: Passing showers and T-storms likely. High: 84

Tuesday: Partly cloudy, drier, cooler. High: 79

Wednesday: Lingering sunshine, still dry. High: 77

Thursday: Clouds increase, late-day shower or T-storm. High: 78

Friday: Muggy with a few showers and storms, some heavy. High: 82

Saturday: Breezy and cooler, morning sun, PM clouds/few showers. High: 75

Hello and happy Sunday everyone. A much nicer day is on tap as an upper-level disturbance begins to pinwheel eastward over the central and eastern Great Lakes. Winds will lighten and skies will be less gray, allowing temperatures to climb into the low 80's for most locations from central Minnesota and places south. The image below was taken from a satellite nearly 22,500 miles above the Earth's surface early Sunday. It shows the cloudier skies over Lakes Superior and Michigan and only a few 'fair weather' cumulus clouds. Cool air aloft is keeping the atmosphere unstable enough for daytime clouds to build in the afternoon sunshine. A few of those clouds may puff up just enough to give way to a couple of sprinkles across the Arrowhead of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, rainfall amounts will be very light, if any at all.
The jet stream or the strong upper level winds, continue to blow from the northwest around the base of a pesky low pressure system sitting over the Hudson Bay. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to want to move anytime soon. Cool temperatures and spotty showers will be found around this feature during the upcoming week, meaning our weather will stay unsettled and slightly cooler than average.
The image below shows the latest computer models guess at how much moisture will fall across the U.S. from Sunday morning through Friday morning (5 days). The heaviest of the rain stays well south of us, rounding the base of the jet stream.

This may truly be the "Year without a summer" - temperatures so far this July are running 3.3 degrees below average at the Twin Cities airport. Hopefully the weather pattern will break soon, stay tuned.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Late-Day Pop-Up Showers

Friday Almanac for MSP. High: 84 Low: 65 Rainfall: .09"

Paul's Outlook


Today: Morning sun, clouds increase by afternoon with a few light showers after 2 or 3 pm. Windy and brisk for late July. Winds: NW 15-30. High: 77 (cooler by afternoon).

Tonight: Clearing skies, chilly. Low: 56 (40s north of Brainerd).

Sunday: More sun, fewer clouds, still a slight chance of an isolated late-day shower or T-shower. Winds: W 5-15 High: 83

Monday: Passing showers and T-storms likely. High: 84

Tuesday: Partly cloudy, drier, cooler. High: 79

Wednesday: Lingering sunshine, still dry. High: 77

Thursday: Clouds increase, late-day shower or T-storm. High: 78

Friday: Muggy with a few showers and storms, some heavy. High: 82

Saturday: Breezy and cooler, morning sun, PM clouds/few showers. High: 75

"Why has it been so cool and dry?"

A lot of theories - no single, definitive smoking gun. Proving cause and effect with the weather is an exercise in futility. A lack of sunspots? A brewing El Nino in the Pacific? Recent volcanic eruptions from Alaska to Russia? All of these factors could be in play - it may be a combination of multiple triggers. One thing I have discovered studying Minnesota weather for the better part of 25 years: the atmosphere is more likely to slip into a rut, stuck in a repetitive pattern, when the Pacific Ocean is unusually warm (El Nino) or unusually chilly (La Nina).

For some reason the arctic region/North Pole has been unusually mild. This, in turn, has pushed the "polar vortex", the coldest air over the Northern Hemisphere, a few hundred miles farther south, closer to Hudson Bay - a pattern we'd expect to see in April or October, not the middle of the summer. This southward shift in the jet stream means that storms that should be tracking across central Canada are diving farther south, each one tugging a reinforcing shot of chilly air unusually far south of the US/Canada border. That's why it hasn't been much of a summer from the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes into New England.

Does this mean that climate change is a sham - proving once and for all that global warming is a crock of hooey? Not necessarily. Most important: this is still weather, not climate. A pattern that lingers for a few weeks, for a portion of a continent, does not mean the entire globe is feeling the chill. In fact I was surprised to see that this past June the combined average global land and surface temperature was the SECOND WARMEST ON RECORD! BTW, these climate records date back to 1880. Here are more climate headlines from NOAA:

Global Climate Statistics

  • The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for June 2009 was the second warmest on record, behind 2005, 1.12 degrees F (0.62 degree C) above the 20th century average of 59.9 degrees F (15.5 degrees C).
  • Separately, the global ocean surface temperature for June 2009 was the warmest on record, 1.06 degrees F (0.59 degree C) above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F (16.4 degrees C).
  • Each hemisphere broke its June record for warmest ocean surface temperature. In the Northern Hemisphere, the warm anomaly of 1.17 degrees F (0.65 degree C) surpassed the previous record of 1.12 degrees F (0.62 degree C), set in 2005. The Southern Hemisphere’s increase of 0.99 degree F (0.55 degree C) exceeded the old record of 0.92 degree F (0.51 degree C), set in 1998.
  • The global land surface temperature for June 2009 was 1.26 degrees F (0.70 degree C) above the 20th century average of 55.9 degrees F (13.3 degrees C), and ranked as the sixth-warmest June on record.

Notable Developments and Events

  • El NiƱo is back after six straight months of increased sea-surface temperature anomalies. June sea surface temperatures in the region were more than 0.9 degree F (0.5 degree C) above average.
  • Terrestrial warmth was most notable in Africa. Considerable warmth also occurred in Siberia and in the lands around the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Cooler-than-average land locations included the U.S. Northern Plains, the Canadian Prairie Provinces, and central Asia.
  • Arctic sea ice covered an average of 4.4 million square miles (11.5 million square kilometers) during June, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. This is 5.6 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent. By contrast, the 2007 record for the least Arctic sea ice extent was 5.5 percent below average. Antarctic sea ice extent in June was 3.9 percent above the 1979-2000 average.
  • Heavy rain fell over central Europe, triggering mudslides and floods. Thirteen fatalities were reported. According to reports, this was central Europe's worst natural disaster since the 2002 floods that claimed 17 lives and caused nearly $3 billion in damages.

Thanks to storm chaser (and all-around great guy) Tad Parris, who was tracking "supercell" thunderstorms near the Minnesota/Iowa border Friday afternoon. Hail up to 2" in diameter was reported in Dodge county. I saw some 4-5" diameter hail in eastern Iowa, associated with a supercell storm that went on to spawn tornadoes. This reinforces one of my fairly reliable warning signs: the larger the hail, the greater the risk of a tornado. The reason: to keep a 4" diameter ball of ice suspended in the air requires a SEVERE thunderstorm updraft. A tornado is more of a process than an object, the visible manifestation of an especially severe updraft. Remember, baseball-size hail = enhanced tornado risk. I've seen it time and time again.
WRF/NMM Model Output for 7 pm this evening. This shows accumulated rain between 1 pm and 7 pm. After a dry, sunny start, the combination of low-level moisture and lingering instability aloft will mean building PM clouds, and a few scattered showers, even a stray thundershower after 3 pm. Clouds and showers will keep temperatures cooler, holding in the upper 60s north to low/mid 70s south.

WRF/NMM Model Output for 7 pm Sunday, showing predicted temperatures in degrees F. The bright red-shaded areas are for 80 degree+ temperatures, anticipated over the southwestern third of Minnesota. The Brainerd and Alexandria Lakes area should see highs in the upper 70s to near 80 with more sun Sunday than today. That said, we still can't rule out an isolated late-day thundershower Sunday, especially between 4 pm and 7 pm.

GFS Prediction for 500 mb Winds, 7 pm Saturday. This graphic shows forecast wind direction/speed at approximately 18,000 feet above the ground. Note the giant "cut-off-low" forecast to be located just north of Minnesota, centered over southwestern Ontario - next weekend. That's about 500 miles farther south than it SHOULD be in late July. Yes, that will mean chilly, unstable air over Minnesota, with any fleeting morning sun giving way to PM clouds and showers, highs possibly stuck in the 60s - even some 50s far north? Yes, I too am mildly disgusted by this pattern. I miss the Dog Days....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mostly-Good Weekend Weather

Thursday Almanac

High: 85

Low: 62

Rainfall: 0"

"Paul, today was a perfect summer day, what we've been waiting for. Keep 'em coming ok?" Well, uh. Yes and no. We start out the day with puddles, a slow, rainy commute, even a few growls of thunder. But the sun should be out by afternoon - your outdoor plans later today should not be in grave danger (unless you're heading into far southeastern MN, where a few strong/severe storms may flare up later).

Good News:

Much-needed rain falls on much of the region this morning, but sun should return for afternoon and evening events.

Dry and comfortably cool Saturday morning with plenty of sun. Air conditioning optional.

More sun Sunday as temperatures mellow to near 80 - better day for the lake or pool.


Bad News:

Too chilly for the lake Saturday morning? Northern MN wakes up to 40s and low 50s.

Couple hours of showers possible Saturday afternoon as Great Lakes storm circulates moisture into Minnesota. Best chance of showers/sprinkles between 3 and 6 pm.

Paul's Weekend Outlook


Today: Showers, possible thunder early, then clearing skies, drier by afternoon. Winds: NW 10-20. High: 81

Tonight: Clear, turning cooler. Low: 57

Saturday: Sunny morning, clouds increase during the afternoon with a few showers, possible thunder. Gusty winds likely. Winds: NW 15-25, gusts to 30. High: 77

Saturday night: Evening shower, then partial clearing - chilly. Low: 55

Sunday: More sunshine, warmer, probably dry. Winds: W 5-15. High: 83

Sunday night: Showers, possible thunder. Low: 62

Monday: Showers and T-storms, then PM sun. High: 82

Tuesday: Plenty of sunshine, a bit cooler. High: 78

Wednesday: Mostly sunny and lukewarm. High: 77

Thursday: Unsettled, chance of showers, T-storms. High: 77


Infrared Satellite Image showing the clipper-like system dropping south out of Canada. If you click on the image (taking it full screen) you can see individual thunderhead anvils embedded in the frontal system moving in.

SPC Prediction for Today. There is a 15% probability of severe weather within 25 miles of any location in extreme southeastern Minnesota, south/east of Rochester. The 5% risk area just barely extends into the Twin Cities.

By the time the atmosphere is unstable enough for strong/severe T-storms today's cool front should be situated over far southeastern Minnesota. I wouldn't be surprised to see some watches and warnings for southeastern counties after 3 pm. The risk of severe weather is small to nil for St. Cloud and the Brainerd Lakes area, a few strong storms may brush the Twin Cities metro, but right now I don't see a widespread outbreak close to Minneapolis & St. Paul.


Latest Drought Monitor for Minnesota. The good news: the percentage of Minnesota experiencing severe/moderate drought conditions shrank (slightly) in the last week, but severe drought conditions now include just about the entire Twin Cities metro area, moderate drought into St. Cloud, Willmar and Rochester. No, I won't be whining about this morning's rain or Saturday afternoon's pop-up instability showers.
WRF/NMM Model Prediction for 7 pm today. This graphic show expected rainfall from 1 pm to 7 pm today, the greatest risk of heavy rain/storms over far southeastern Minnesota - dry weather prevailing across most of the state. The only notable exception. Moisture approaching from the north may spark showers and a few isolated thundershowers near the Canadian border by the dinner hour.
WRF/NMM Outlook for 7 pm Saturday. Again, this is the model's prediction of rainfall between 1 pm and 7 pm. Note the (spiral) bands of mostly light showers popping up over central and eastern Minnesota - even heavier across Wisconsin. These instability showers and isolated thundershowers may drop some .05" rainfall amounts, enough to chase people inside for 20-40 minutes. The best chance of a little rain comes between 3 pm and 6 pm, skies should start to clear in time for sunset, around 9 pm Saturday night.

Sunday looks more promising, the stubborn Great Lakes storm pushing east, the atmosphere becoming more stable (ie warmer) aloft, meaning a much lower risk of showers/storms during the day Sunday. The sun should be out most of the day, luring temperatures to 80 up north at your favorite lake, 82 in St. Cloud, maybe 83 or 84 in the Twin Cities, some upper 80s south and west of the Minnesota River. Showers may arrive late Sunday night, but I think the daylight hours will be dry, and lake-friendly from the BWCA to the Iowa line.

Happy to see "average"

A so-so weekend weather verdict. Computer models are suggesting a stalled storm over the Great Lakes this weekend, moisture wrapping entirely around this unusually cool, ragged region of low pressure. That could mean afternoon clouds, even a few light showers/sprinkles late Saturday, the best chance over the eastern half of Minnesota and Wisconsin - the sky may look something like this around sunset Saturday evening up in the Brainerd and Alexandria Lakes area (most of the thick clouds/showers should remain just to the east of the Whitefish Chain, Gull Lake and North Long Lake).



Paul's Weekend Outlook


Today: Mostly sunny, warm and pleasant. Odds favor a dry Thursday for most of us. Winds: SW 10-15. High: 82

Tonight: Partly cloudy and mild. Low: 65

Friday: More clouds, a few showers and T-storms likely, some downpours possible. High: 81

Saturday: Morning sunshine, clouds increase during the afternoon, slight chance of late-day showers/sprinkles. Winds: N/NW 10-20+ High: 77

Saturday night: Gradual clearing, chilly. Low: 58

Sunday: Sunnier, warmer, drier - better day for the lake or pool. High: 82

Sunday night: Showers/T-storms arrive, not as cool. Low: 62

Monday: Showers/storms early, then clearing. High: 78

Tuesday: Bright sun, a dry sky. High: 77

Wednesday: Sunny start, increasing clouds, late shower? High: near 80

Thursday: Partly sunny, breezy and cooler. High: 76

Wednesday Almanac

High Low Rainfall

St. Cloud 81 52 Trace

Twin Cities 80 58 .20" (.36" rain in St. Paul)

Towering Wall of Water! Here was the view from WeatherNation's offices yesterday at about 4:30, showing strong/severe thunderstorms mushrooming directly above the metro Minneapolis/St. Paul area, producing 1/2 to 3/4" (nickel size) hail in Bloomington, torrential rains, even a few "cold air funnels" spotted near Montrose, Winsted and Silver Lake, in Wright County. No reports of any touchdowns or damage.

The weekend weather is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle. Normally (USUALLY!) the weather is progressive, it moves along from west to east at 20-25 mph. This summer, since July 1, give or take, the weather over North America has been stuck in a rut, one favoring unusually warm weather from Alaska into the far west, and a cold, stormy swirl of low pressure over Hudson Bay, Canada. Storms that should be tracking across southern and central Canada have been forced south, detouring across Minnesota into the Great Lakes and New England.

There is a strong tendency, a predisposition, for storms to form - and linger - over the Great Lakes. That's what sparked our lousy weather last week at this time (clouds, wind chill, highs stuck in the 60s). A similar storm is forecast to stall over the Great Lakes tomorrow and Saturday, the chance of rain increasing as you drive east across Wisconsin towards Michigan. Saturday should start out sunny, but clouds will increase by afternoon, showers blossoming over central and eastern counties by late afternoon, most likely east of Bemidji, Brainerd and Little Falls.

WRF/NMM Outlook for 1 pm Saturday. A dry start Saturday morning gives way to building PM clouds and a few (spiral) bands of showers rotating in a counterclockwise fashion around the cold, stubborn, low pressure system anchored over the Great Lakes.

GFS Outlook for 1 pm Sunday. The Great Lakes storm finally weakens and drifts eastward. Meanwhile a band of showers is forecast to approach from the Dakotas, possibly entering western counties of Minnesota by Sunday evening.

Sunday should be the finer day of the weekend as that Great Lakes storm gets a gentle nudge to the east, a more westerly breeze treating Minnesota to more sunshine and warmer afternoon temperatures, topping 80 - probably the better day to stake out the lake or pool.

With this wacky, almost autumnlike trend to the evolving weather patterns over North America I shouldn't even bother to look at the GFS, which goes out 15 days. Lately the Day 10-15 Outlook has been even worse than usual, and I'm wondering if our abnormal weather rut (possibly linked with a strengthening El Nino) is one reason why the long-range forecast is even more problematic than usual. I have noticed a tendency for Minnesota weather to fall into a rut when things are brewing in the Pacific, water warmer or cooler than average - that seems to increase the potential for the jet stream to become locked in a pattern that favors one kind of weather - consistently - week after week.

Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies. Regions of red-shading represent ocean water temperatures warmer than average, blue regions display cooler than average water.

OK. So the 15-Day GFS is hinting at 90 by August 6 or 7, but I'm not holding my breath any more. I'm resigned to the fact that summer is going to be cooler, potentially 2-4 degrees cooler than a typical Minnesota summer. It's also shaping up to be drier - my concern is drought conditions will expand and worsen in the coming weeks. That could set up an especially fierce potential for wildfires late summer into September and October. The winter to come? Although most El Nino winters tend to be milder than average, it's not a guarantee by any stretch of the imagination. We're discovering that every El Nino is different, unique. It's not one-size-fits-all. On the surface odds might seem to favor a more moderate winter, but I'm not going to go out on a limb and predict that, at least not yet. One thing is certain: there's a 100% probability it's going to be a wild ride in the months to come.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Borderline Severe

Update: 4:45 pm. Reports of cold air funnels with some of the cells right over the Midway Region between Mpls. and St. Paul, along with 1" hail, roughly quarter-size, which is borderline severe. These storms may unleash some 1-3" rainfall amounts in a short period of time, causing flooding of streets and streams. Most of the thundery weather should dissipate after 9 pm this evening.

Late-Day Storms May Sprout

* Numerous reports of large hail around the region Tuesday, possible funnel clouds near Glencoe, nearly 1" of rain soaks the Twin Cities metro area. More strong/severe storms may mushroom to life later today, fewer than yesterday, the greatest risk of an hour of (hard) rain around the dinner hour coming closer to Wisconsin.

24 Hour Rainfall Amounts


St. Cloud: .71"

Twin Cities: .92"

Duluth: 1.16"

Redwood Falls: .08"

Rochester: Trace

GFS Outlook for 7 pm Saturday, displaying accumulated precipitation from 7 am to 7 pm Saturday. The heaviest showers/storms are forecast to be east of Minnesota, light showers over Wisconsin, stronger storms rumbling across the Ohio Valley into the northeast. This is the same, nagging pattern that has kept the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes and New England cooler than average much of July - unusually strong storms for mid summer, tracking unusually far south, pumping cooler air into the U.S. in their wake, each storm passage followed by another shot of cool, fresh air.
6-10 Day Temperature Outlook. Hoping for some dog days to sweat it out on the beach, or slather on the sunscreen and charo-broil by the pool? That may not happen anytime soon. The long-range guidance for last week suggests that July will end on a cool note, prevailing jet stream winds still howling from the northwest in a pattern vaguely reminiscent of late September. I swear we've skipped 2 months and gone right to September 21!

* For detailed storm report from last night: scroll down.

* Numerous reports of 1-2" diameter hail Tuesday evening.

* Funnel clouds spotted near Glencoe, no reports of any touchdowns.

* Lightning claims one life near Stillwater (14 year old girl seeking shelter under a tree).

That last headline breaks my heart, because it's such a needless, avoidable tragedy. I know how tempting it is to avoid getting soaked by hiding under the nearest tree, cross your fingers, and wait for the storm to pass. But you're courting disaster if there's lightning in those thunderheads. If you can't make it to a building (and building) or a vehicle, it's safest to crouch down near some smaller shrubs - don't lie down flat on the ground, this actually increases your risk.

A few signs lightning may be about to strike:

* Strange clicking noise.

* Metallic taste in your mouth.

* Hair standing on end.



If you encounter any of these danger signs, drop down into a crouching position, cover your head and lean forward until the threat has passed. During an average year the St. Cloud area sees 30-35 days with thunder and lightning - in the vast majority of cases you'll be at home or school or the office, no worries (if you stay away from outer walls/windows).

Don't wait until you can see lightning to head indoors - when skies begin to darken, when you hear the first growl of thunder, you should be heading for a shelter (or your car/truck). Remember that lightning can travel as far as 10 miles away from the parent thunderhead, striking with blue sky overhead! That expression "bolt from the blue" is based on bizarre circumstances with sometimes deadly results. Just because the heavy rain is over doesn't mean the threat of lightning has passed.

It's best to wait at least 30 minutes after you hear the last thunderclap before heading back outside to work, play or relax. That should give enough time for the storm (and accompanying lightning risk) to move a safe distance away.


Paul's Outlook


Today: Sunny start, clouds build during the afternoon, spotty late-day T-storms. Winds: west 5-10. High: 81

Tonight: Evening showers, then clearing. Low: 55

Thursday: Morning sun, more isolated late-day storms fire up. High: 82

Friday: Intervals of sun, passing shower possible. High: near 80

Saturday: Plenty of sun, cooler, probably dry (showers over Wisconsin). High: 77

Sunday: More sun, warmer, nicer for the lake. High: 83

Monday: Showers and T-storms likely High: 79


Storm Reports from Tuesday, July 21, from the National Weather Service.

PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
910 PM CDT TUE JUL 21 2009

..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
..REMARKS..

0255 PM LIGHTNING STILLWATER 45.06N 92.82W
07/21/2009 WASHINGTON MN BROADCAST MEDIA

*** 1 FATAL *** FROM WCCO...14 YEAR OLD GIRL WAS STRUCK
BY LIGHTNING IN STILLWATER WHILE UNDER A TREE.


PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
754 PM CDT TUE JUL 21 2009

..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
..REMARKS..

0119 PM HAIL LITTLE FALLS 45.98N 94.36W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH MORRISON MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0210 PM HAIL 1 SW LITTLE ROCK 45.80N 94.07W
07/21/2009 M1.00 INCH BENTON MN PUBLIC

MEASURED IN GRAHAM TOWNSHIP

0213 PM HAIL WAITE PARK 45.55N 94.22W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH STEARNS MN LAW ENFORCEMENT

0300 PM HAIL STILLWATER 45.06N 92.82W
07/21/2009 M0.50 INCH WASHINGTON MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0300 PM HAIL 3 E DUELM 45.56N 93.88W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH BENTON MN PUBLIC

0300 PM HAIL 2 ESE DUELM 45.55N 93.89W
07/21/2009 M1.00 INCH SHERBURNE MN PUBLIC

GARDEN SHREDDED

0304 PM HAIL 2 S HAMBURG 44.70N 93.96W
07/21/2009 M0.25 INCH SIBLEY MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0310 PM HAIL WOODBURY 44.91N 92.92W
07/21/2009 M0.50 INCH WASHINGTON MN TRAINED SPOTTER

HAIL OCCURRED FROM 310 TO 317 PM

0315 PM HAIL LAKELAND 44.95N 92.77W
07/21/2009 E0.88 INCH WASHINGTON MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0320 PM HAIL 4 NNW MAPLETON 43.98N 93.98W
07/21/2009 M1.00 INCH BLUE EARTH MN PUBLIC

QUARTER SIZED HAIL FELL AGAIN AT 325 PM.

0328 PM HAIL HUDSON 44.97N 92.74W
07/21/2009 E0.25 INCH ST. CROIX WI TRAINED SPOTTER

0341 PM HAIL 5 SW MONTICELLO 45.25N 93.87W
07/21/2009 M0.50 INCH WRIGHT MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0345 PM HAIL 1 NW BUFFALO 45.19N 93.88W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH WRIGHT MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0353 PM HAIL 3 N ELK RIVER 45.38N 93.57W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH SHERBURNE MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0406 PM HAIL 1 ENE ROGERS 45.20N 93.53W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH HENNEPIN MN TRAINED SPOTTER

AT COUNTY RD 13 AND 144

0410 PM HAIL 2 SE ELK RIVER 45.32N 93.55W
07/21/2009 M1.25 INCH SHERBURNE MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0411 PM HAIL 3 NE ROGERS 45.22N 93.52W
07/21/2009 M1.00 INCH HENNEPIN MN TRAINED SPOTTER

MEASURED AT INTERSECTION OF BROCKTON AND PINE IN DAYTON.

0411 PM HAIL BUFFALO 45.18N 93.87W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH WRIGHT MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0415 PM HAIL RAMSEY 45.26N 93.45W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH ANOKA MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0419 PM HAIL DAYTON 45.19N 93.47W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH HENNEPIN MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0430 PM HAIL WATERTOWN 44.96N 93.85W
07/21/2009 M1.00 INCH CARVER MN LAW ENFORCEMENT

0445 PM FUNNEL CLOUD 4 E GLENCOE 44.77N 94.07W
07/21/2009 MCLEOD MN PUBLIC

NUMEROUS CALLS. LOCATION APPROXIMATE...MAY HAVE BEEN IN
SIBLEY COUNTY. FUNNEL APPEARED TO BE QUITE HIGH BASED IN
PHOTO. STORM LIKELY UNDERCUT BY COLD AIR.

0450 PM HAIL 1 SE COTTAGE GROVE 44.81N 92.92W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH WASHINGTON MN TRAINED SPOTTER

0453 PM HAIL 1 E ST PAUL PARK 44.84N 92.98W
07/21/2009 M1.75 INCH WASHINGTON MN FIRE DEPT/RESCUE

REPORTED AT INTESECTION OF HIGHWAY 61 AND GLEN RD

0500 PM HAIL GREEN ISLE 44.68N 94.01W
07/21/2009 M0.88 INCH SIBLEY MN LAW ENFORCEMENT

WAS REPORTED BY A DISPATCH FOR NICOLLET WHO LIVES IN
GREEN ISLE

0510 PM HAIL COTTAGE GROVE 44.82N 92.93W
07/21/2009 E1.75 INCH WASHINGTON MN LAW ENFORCEMENT

0510 PM HAIL 3 NNE ST PAUL 44.99N 93.08W
07/21/2009 M0.88 INCH RAMSEY MN TRAINED SPOTTER

NEAR LARPENTEUR AND EDGETON

0530 PM HAIL 4 N ST PETER 44.39N 93.96W
07/21/2009 M0.88 INCH NICOLLET MN LAW ENFORCEMENT

OCCURRED FROM 530 TO 540 PM CDT

0645 PM HAIL 1 NNW CHIPPEWA FALLS 44.95N 91.40W
07/21/2009 E1.00 INCH CHIPPEWA WI PUBLIC

0650 PM HAIL WNW ST CLAIR 44.08N 93.86W
07/21/2009 M0.75 INCH BLUE EARTH MN TRAINED SPOTTER

OCCURRED BETWEEN 650 AND 655 PM CDT

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Storm Warnings Metro Area

Update 5:00 PM. Severe storm warnings in effect for parts of the metro: hardest hit western, northern, and far southeastern metro, from Hudson to River Falls, WI. The main risk: large hail, 1"+ diameter, quarter-size, and winds gusting over 65 mph at times. Storms will quickly taper after 8 or 9 pm as the atmosphere becomes more stable.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN THE TWIN CITIES HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
NORTHEASTERN ANOKA COUNTY IN EAST CENTRAL MINNESOTA...

* UNTIL 500 PM CDT

* AT 436 PM CDT...RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM...CAPABLE OF
PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED NEAR EAST
BETHEL...OR ABOUT 15 MILES SOUTH OF CAMBRIDGE...AND MOVING EAST AT
15 MPH.

* THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL OTHERWISE REMAIN OVER MAINLY RURAL
AREAS OF THE INDICATED COUNTY.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF THIS STORM...PREPARE IMMEDIATELY FOR LARGE
HAIL. SEEK SHELTER NOW INSIDE A STURDY STRUCTURE AND STAY AWAY FROM
WINDOWS.

(Click on image to bring it full screen and see all detail/text)

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN THE TWIN CITIES HAS ISSUED A

* SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR...
EASTERN SIBLEY COUNTY IN CENTRAL MINNESOTA...
NORTHWESTERN LE SUEUR COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA...
NORTHEASTERN NICOLLET COUNTY IN SOUTH CENTRAL MINNESOTA...

* UNTIL 545 PM CDT

* AT 454 PM CDT...RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM...CAPABLE OF
PRODUCING QUARTER SIZE HAIL. THIS STORM WAS LOCATED 5 MILES
SOUTHEAST OF ARLINGTON...OR ABOUT 15 MILES NORTH OF ST PETER...AND
MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 15 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE...
NORSELAND...
HENDERSON...
LE SUEUR...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF THIS STORM...PREPARE IMMEDIATELY FOR LARGE
HAIL. SEEK SHELTER NOW INSIDE A STURDY STRUCTURE AND STAY AWAY FROM
WINDOWS.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Minnesota Rainfall Deficit, Extreme in Spots!


Todd's Outlook

Today: Lingering showers and T-storms early, then partial clearing. High: 78

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, a shower or storm still possible. Low: 61

Wednesday: Mix of clouds and sunshine, warmer. High: 82

Thursday: Plenty of sunshine, a nice dose of summer! High: 85

Friday: Ample sun, chance of late-day T-showers. High: 84

Saturday: Cooler under a partly sunny sky. T-storms possible far southern MN. High: 79

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with showers, windy and cool again. High: 75

Monday: Stalled pattern once more....Mostly cloudy and showery, a damp wind. High: 72

I'm amazed by the lack of moisture and warm air this summer and especially this July. Take a look at the image above - it shows a low or a storm system just east of the Hudson Bay, which has been continually rotating cool air down through the Great Lakes. The warmer the air is, the more moisture it can hold, meaning that our lack of rain can be (somewhat) correlated to the cooler weather this summer. The jet stream, or the strong upper level winds are consistently staying to our west and south, which is the main highway for showers and thunderstorms. The dome of hot air is also holding firm across the western half of the country with record high temperatures being set nearly everyday. When will this pattern break? Extended models are showing a break in the cool weather across Minnesota by the end of the month. Upper 80's to low 90's may be possible again by then, stay tuned!

Below the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, which was released Thursday, July 16th. (The Drought monitor releases a new map every Thursday) Notice how most of the Twin Cities Metro is included in the SEVERE DROUGHT. 73% of the state is considered to be either abnormally dry or in a drought.


As of 6pm Monday evening: The precipitation departure from normal since January 1st, from climate reporting stations around the state, stood like this:

Twin Cities: -7.85" Below Normal
Duluth: -4.45" Below Normal
Rochester: -4.43" Below Normal
St. Cloud: -0.70" Below Normal
International Falls: +0.80" Above Normal


Radar imagery from Monday evening showed a wall of water across northwestern Minnesota. This activity developed along a cool front that will slowly move eastward on Tuesday and may produce some fairly substantial rainfall across parts of the state. The image below shows the best guess at accumulated rainfall from 6pm Monday evening through 6pm Tuesday evening. The "X" and the numerical value (near Duluth, MN) is the largest value the weather model prints out during that time period for Minnesota. Central Minnesota will likely receive around 0.25" with some 0.50" to 1.00" amounts possible in convective showers (thunderstorms).

Think rain! Hopefully when you check your rain gauge Tuesday evening, you'll be pleased.

Tuesday AM Soaking?

Sunday morning lows (minimum temperatures) around the state of Minnesota:

53 Twin Cities (normal low is 63).

43 St. Cloud (new record low for July 19).

37 International Falls (new record, old record was 43 F, set in 1958)


Paul's Outlook


Today: Warm sun much of the day, breezy. Winds: south 10-20, gustier PM. High: 81

Tonight: Clouds increase, growing chance of showers and heavy thunderstorms. Locally heavy rainfall possible with a few of these storms. Low: 63

Tuesday: Lingering showers and T-storms early, then partial clearing. High: 78

Wednesday: Mix of clouds and sunshine, warmer. High: 82

Thursday: Plenty of sunshine, a nice dose of summer! High: 85

Friday: Ample sun, chance of late-day T-showers. High: 84

Saturday: Cooler under a partly sunny sky. T-storms possible far southern MN. High: 79

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with showers, windy and cool again. High: 75

Monday: Stalled pattern once more....Mostly cloudy and showery, a damp wind. High: 72

 TEMPERATURE IN F:       :PCPN:  
=================================
1 2 3 4 5 6A 6B 7

DY MAX MIN AVG DEP HDD CDD WTR
=================================

1 73 56 65 -7 0 0 0.04
2 80 57 69 -3 0 4 0.00
3 80 62 71 -1 0 6 0.00
4 78 63 71 -1 0 6 0.15
5 84 58 71 -1 0 6 0.00
6 85 62 74 1 0 9 T
7 83 65 74 1 0 9 T
8 79 64 72 -1 0 7 0.00
9 81 60 71 -2 0 6 0.01
10 89 67 78 5 0 13 0.02
11 79 62 71 -2 0 6 0.00
12 79 63 71 -2 0 6 0.00
13 82 60 71 -2 0 6 0.00
14 80 65 73 0 0 8 0.04
15 78 62 70 -3 0 5 0.00
16 71 56 64 -9 1 0 0.00
17 65 57 61 -13 4 0 T
18 67 56 62 -12 3 0 0.00



July Data for the Twin Cities from the National Weather Service.

* 3.2 degrees F. cooler than average so far.

* 14 of 18 days: cooler than average, largest extremes came third week of July.

* Only 5 days with more than a trace of rain reported. Only .26" of rain so far in July (running a 2.11" deficit just this month).

* 6 mornings so far in July waking up to metro temperatures in the 50s.

* Historically, this is just about the hottest weekend of the year, on average, across most of Minnesota.




WRF/NMM Precipitation Outlook for Tuesday morning. This is what the computer model is predicting for rainfall amounts between 1 am and 7 am Tuesday morning. Some very impressive amounts are possible over central Minnesota, especially just north of St. Cloud, where the models are hinting at some 3"+ amounts (in 6 hours, mind you!) which would imply some very heavy, slow-moving thunderstorms moving through. I'm skeptical that rainfall amounts will be anywhere close to that amount, but some .25 to .75" rainfall tallies seem realistic, a few farms and lawns may soak up close to an inch of rain Tuesday.

Another frontal boundary arrives with potentially heavy showers/thunderstorms late tonight into part of Tuesday, the timing is still tricky, but Tuesday morning's "rush hour" may be anything but. Several inches of rain is expected over parts of central Minnesota, less amounts closer to the Twin Cities, Duluth and Rochester. Remember we're in a moderate/severe drought, down anywhere form 2-4" of rain since June 1, closer to 6" since April 1, so bring it on!

GFS Prediction for 7 pm next Sunday evening. This graphic shows predicted rainfall from 7 am to 7 pm next Sunday, with almost "spiral" bands of showers setting up around yet ANOTHER upper level, "cut-off" low forecast to spin up - AGAIN (!!) over Hudson Bay, Canada. This is unbelievable - incredible - almost supernatural! Some sort of blocking pattern or strange oscillation is preventing this "block" from transitioning into a new phase. This is the same pattern that sparked 60s, record chill and long faces from last Thursday into Saturday, and if - IF this model is accurate, we may be in for another round of cool, wet and windy from next weekend into the last few days of July. A far cry from a week ago when the GFS was hinting at 90s for the last few days of July. Just goes to show how fast the (long-range) forecast can go south.

The next clipper-like disturbance dropping southeastward out of Canada may rile up a shower or storm anytime late Friday, before a drier, cooler, lower-humidity breeze whips up behind the front Saturday, temperatures probably stunted in the 70s once more. It's hard to fathom, but that same GFS model is painting another unusually vigorous, another chilly, rainy, stormy swirl over the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest from next weekend into the first few days of next week. Maybe it's El Nino, perhaps it's something else, but it's just uncanny how the atmosphere wants to keep getting locked in a pattern that favors almost autumnlike weather from the Dakotas to New England, while much of the south, west (and oddly enough: Alaska) bakes under record heat. Enough speculation, just know that no 90s are shaping up, quite the opposite with temperatures quite a bit cooler than average for late July. Wait, how the heck did it get to be late July?


Is it just me, or have you noticed that every summer seems to fly by just a little bit faster than the one before?



Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Welcome Dose of Sunshine

Saturday Weather Almanac. High: 67, Low: 56, Rainfall: 0"

Paul's Outlook


Today: Plenty of sun, less wind, low humidity, slightly cooler than average. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 78

Tonight: Mostly clear and cool. Low: 55

Monday: Warm sun most of the day. Showers and T-storms arrive late Monday night. High: 82

Tuesday: Unsettled with a lingering shower or storm around town. High: near 80

Wednesday: More sun, fewer clouds - Isolated T-shower, especially far southern MN. High: 82

Thursday: Intervals of sun, temperatures near normal for a change. High: 83

Friday: Clouds increase, late-day thunderstorm possible. High: 81

Saturday: Cooler with more clouds, slight shower risk, especially PM hours. High: 77

Sunday: Mix of clouds and sun, cooler than average. High: 76


WRF/NMM Precipitation Outlook, from 1 am to 7 am Tuesday morning. The model is printing out about .40" for St. Cloud, but closer to 1" for the Twin Cities metro. I'm a bit skeptical - the models have been consistently over-predicting rain so far this summer; this upcoming front will probably be no exception.

GFS Outlook for next Sunday, July 26. Long-range models are hinting at a pretty good chance of showers and scattered T-storms Saturday, especially over the southeastern half of Minnesota, a better chance PM hours Saturday, especially closer to Wisconsin. Although it's admittedly early Sunday appears to be the drier day, with partly sunny skies, temperatures probably holding in the 70s.

Showery weather will hang on from late Monday night into Wednesday morning, the heaviest, steadiest rains probably passing off to our south and east (again). We dry out a bit during the day Wednesday and Friday, before a series of clipper-like disturbances racing southeastward out of Canada spark a few, mainly late-day showers and storms late Friday, again Saturday. The confidence level (this far out) is low, so tune in (every 15 minutes would be nice) for updates as we fine-tune the forecast for the last weekend of July. How did THAT happen?

Rainfall (Departure from Normal) Since June 1, courtesy of NOAA's Midwestern Regional Climate Center at the Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL. The driest counties of Minnesota stretch from the Twin Cities westward to St. Cloud, Willmar and Mankato. Much of the Minnesota Arrowhead is also running a rainfall deficit of as much as 3-4". The driest part of the Twin Cities: east metro, also experiencing a 3-4" deficit, although I've heard other figures that place the deficit in moisture closer to 6" since April 1.

Summer Statistics

The National Weather Service has put together a nice page of updated statistics, showcasing how cool and dry we've been since June 1. For all the details click here.

A Few Highlights (or low-lights, as the case may be):

Twin Cities Temperatures: 1.5 degrees F. cooler than average

Twin Cities Rainfall since June 1: 2-3" drier than average (eastern suburbs of St. Paul are 3-4" drier than average since June 1).

Days with thunder/lightning so far this summer: 11 (normal as of July 18 is 23).

Various Tornado and Warning Statistics

First Minnesota Tornado: June 17th (3rd Latest Since '50)

First Minnesota Tornado Warning: June 17th (3rd Latest Since At Least 1986)

First Warning For the Twin Cities Metro: June 17th (Latest Since At Least 1986)