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...
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