Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Almanac
High: 78, Low: 65, Precipitation: 0"

Paul's Outlook

Today: Any sun gives way to increasing clouds, windy, still cool. Late-day sprinkles possible. Showery rains far north. Winds: NW 15-30. High: 70

Tonight: Patchy clouds, a whiff of windchill. Low: 53

Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy, hints of autumn in the air. High: 65

Saturday: A mix of clouds and sun, less wind, a bit milder. High: 75

Sunday: More like summer! Bright sun, warming up. High: 84

Monday: Warm sun, more humid. High: 86

Tuesday: Showers and thunderstorms likely. High: 83

Wednesday: Damp start, then partly sunny and drier. High: 82

Spicer tornado photo taken at 6:40 pm Tuesday evening by professional storm chaser Tadd Parris, who took multiple photos as he raced across Kandiyohi County, trying to keep up with a fast-moving "supercell" thunderstorm. Strong rotation within the storm resulted in a "wall cloud" slowly lowering to the ground, and near Spicer the tornado touched down, resulting in considerable damage. Thanks to Tadd for making this available to WeatherNation and its clients. For some amazing YouTube footage of the tornado on the ground click here, and scroll down near the bottom of the page. Trust me, it's worth your time to check this out.

The sun will be out for a time this morning but clouds will quickly increase (from north to south) and temperatures will be cooler than yesterday, a gusty northwest wind means only the brave and foolish will take a quick dip in the lake later today. An unusually strong storm over Ontario Province, Canada is in a holding-pattern, moisture forecast to wrap all the way around this area of low pressure, approaching from the NORTH by Friday. That could mean light showers north of Brainerd and Mille Lacs, with a few sprinkles into St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, dribbling out of a lumpy-looking sky straight out of early October. Talk about free air conditioning. Temperatures won't climb out of the 50s over northern Minnesota today and tomorrow; if skies were to magically clear up north I'd be predicting a rare July FROST up on the Iron Range, near Tower and Embarrass! Clouds will probably linger the next couple of nights, preventing a widespread frost, btw. Yes, you may get some mileage out of that favorite fall sweater, sweatshirt or jacket over the next 48 hours.

WRF/NMM Model Output for 7 pm this evening, showing predicted rainfall between 1 pm and 7 pm today. The models are hinting at a little, light, showery rain, mainly north of Grand Rapids and Bemidji, but a few sprinkles may reach as far south as St. Cloud, even the Twin Cities.

WRF/NMM Temperature Prediction for 1 pm Saturday. Don't panic! Deep breaths. A bubble of high pressure over Sioux Falls, South Dakota will keep our winds blowing from the northwest into Saturday, but temperatures aloft begin to warm, and some of this milder air makes it's way down to the ground, mellowing the mercury into the 70s statewide. Saturday will be the cooler day of the weekend, but with less wind and bright sun it should be a good day for the lake or pool.

Winds are forecast to turn to the southwest Sunday, luring temperatures into the mid 80s, making it the better day to loiter on the beach - by Sunday it will finally feel like summer again. The sun should be out right through Monday, with little chance of significant rain for the next 5 days. The next opportunity for showers and thunderstorms across the state will come next Tuesday as a slow-moving cool front approaches from the Dakotas.

WRF/NMM Output for 1 pm next Tuesday, July 21. A weak cool front will shove a narrow band of showers and storms across the state, with some .25"+ rainfall amounts possible, probably no heavy downpours like we had Tuesday night.

By all means don't write summer off (completely) just yet. The atmosphere has an uncanny ability to balance things out. A few weeks of unusually cool weather is often followed by a few weeks of unusually warm weather as the atmosphere trends toward a state of equilibrium. Highs should be in the 80s most of next week, in fact the long-range GFS model is predicting a string of 90s at the very end of July, possibly 3-5 days in a row above 90. That's way out on a limb, but I have NO doubt that we'll have plenty of opportunity to sweat it out as we end July and sail into August.

July Temperature Outlook from CPC. The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting cooler than average weather from the Dakotas and Minnesota east to the Great Lakes and New England, a result of a southward shift in the jet stream pushing unusually cool south of the Canadian border. Because of the unusually cool start to the month, this forecast doesn't look like much of a stretch, even if we do see a few 90s at the end of July. But I wouldn't be surprised to see a warmer than average August. Place your bets.

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