Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Long cool soaking

20 degrees at Embarrass, Minnesota Wednesday morning: coldest in the state

Soaking rain on tap, 1+" rainfall amounts seem likely, heaviest amounts come this afternoon through early tonight.

Plan on a much slower evening commute later today because of the rain.

Showers linger for Friday evening football games, temperatures range from 48-50; expect raw and fairly uncomfortable conditions.

Better news for Saturday games. Odds favor peeks of sun and dry weather most of the day, temperatures from 57-62. Slight PM shower risk over eastern MN, Wisconsin.

Sunday: sunnier, nicer day of the weekend to close up the cabin, take in the dock, rake some leaves (or just watch football on TV).

Twin Cities Marathon: Partly sunny, cool an dry (nearly perfect conditions). 8 am temperature: 45. Noon temperature: 54. 3 pm temperature: 59. Low humidity, winds under 15 mph.

No more 70s, warm fronts nowhere to be found on the weather map. Temperatures run 5-10 degrees cooler than average through most of next week.

Umbrella. Noun. A screen or shade, usually of cloth stretched over a folding radial frame, carried for protection against the rain or sun.

Rummage around the house and see if you can track down one of these handy devices. Brush the cobwebs off the kid's waterproof jackets while you're at it. Rain is in the forecast, the most significant soaking in 5-6 weeks, going back to mid August (the last time it really poured). The heaviest, steadiest rains should arrive this afternoon and linger into the nighttime hours. The most reliable computer model (what meteorologists call the "NAM", for North American Model) is printing out a whopping 1.23" of rain over the next 84 hours - most of that coming from lunchtime Thursday through midnight Thursday night.

Stating the obvious: we need the rain. We need it bad. A meager .46" of rain fell in September, 2.16" less than average for the month. Weather systems were in a holding pattern much of the month: record floods for Atlanta and the southeastern U.S. while high pressure loitered over the Great Lakes and Midwest for the first 3 weeks of the month. Pretty extraordinary. By the way, September wound up 5.9 degrees warmer than average, almost as if Mother Nature was trying to compensate for a cool July and August.

We're rapidly transitioning into an autumnal pattern, one where precipitation goes from showery "convective", hit-or-miss - to more of a steady, heavy, widespread pattern where EVERYONE gets wet. During the summer we rely on small, 5-10 mile diameter thunderstorms, intense, localized updrafts, for most of our moisture. But during October and November the air is drier and cooler, less favorable for T-storms. A significant north-south temperature variation sets the stage for broad areas of low pressure, storms that pull Gulf moisture northward, rising up and over cool air over Minnesota, a process known as "overrunning". As air rises it cools, and can't hold as much water vapor - moisture condenses out into visible cloud droplets. When these microscopic droplets combine they grow larger, until they get so big and heavy that gravity pulls them to the ground - and we say "it's raining". Frankly, it's easier to predict (with confidence) if a specific town is going to see rain in October than in July, when showers are totally random and fickle: one town will get a 5" soaking, while 3 miles down the road the sun is out and people are mad because it's not raining! Talk about frustrating.

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Cloudy, rain developing by midday, getting steadier/heavier this afternoon (slow drive home later today). Winds: East 15-30. High: 55

Tonight: A soaking rain, heaviest before midnight. Low: 48

Friday: Cloudy, periods of rain (not quite as heavy). Still cool, raw and damp. High: 54

Saturday: Step in the right direction. More clouds than sun, brief PM sprinkle but definitely drier. High: 57

Sunday: Nicer day, plenty of sun, few degrees milder. High: 61

Monday: Clouds increase, chance of showers late. High: 58

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, showery rains likely. High: 57

Wednesday: Still unsettled and rather damp, a stray shower or sprinkle. High: 56

WRF/NMM (NAM) Model Output valid 7 pm this evening. Note the heaviest/steadiest rains are forecast to set up over western and central Minnesota, .75"+ (just between 1 pm and 7 pm today!) Let's hope the models are right. They've been pretty consistent, calling for significant rain, so I'll be shocked if we totally miss out on the puddles later today. Prepare for a longer, slower drive home after 3 pm with moderate rain.

I'm reasonably confident that everyone will see rain by midday, heavy at times this afternoon and evening. Showery rains will linger into Friday as a strong storm tracks just south of St. Cloud, keeping us in a raw, moist east/northeasterly flow. If it were early November (and about 15 degrees colder) we'd be looking at somewhere between 12-24" of snow, by the way. While you contemplate that scenario, some better news for the weekend. Yes, we're scheduling soaking rains for workdays, when we're cooped up indoors at work, home and school, saving the cool, refreshing sunlight for weekends whenever possible. The sun should peek through Saturday, although a stray PM shower can't be ruled out, especially across eastern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Sunday looks sunnier and a bit milder statewide before the next round of showers arrives Monday-Tuesday of next week. Yes, we are sliding into a wetter pattern, and frankly, it's about time. I'm looking forward to pressing my face up against a rain-splattered window, maybe sloshing around in a few puddles on my way out to start the car later on.

Your lawn, your garden - shrubs and trees (not to mention farmer's fields) will be LOVING this long, cool drink - it's just what we needed, a chance to recharge soil moisture before the ground begins to freeze up, roughly a month from now. A few more storms like this would put us in pretty good shape going into the winter. The drought is still hanging on (latest update tomorrow) but I'm hopeful that the pattern is shifting, we are getting wetter, I just hope we can benefit from this moisture before the ground freezes up solid as a rock.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rumors, gossip and weather innuendo

Yesterday Jason DeRusha sent me an e-mail, "Shelby says you bought the Weather Channel. True?" Then Amy Gustafson called from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, asking the same thing, "there's a rumor swirling that you bought the Weather Channel. What's up with that?" For the record: I'm honored that someone (even my dear friend Don Shelby, or "The Donald", as I fondly refer to him) could surmise that I had the wherewithal to cough up a few billion (with a b) dollars to purchase the Atlanta-based weather monopoly. Last year NBC/Universal purchased the cable Weather Channel and for a cool $5 billion, give or take.

My newest company, WeatherNation LLC, purchased a different, Atlanta-based weather company earlier this year: Ham Weather. Click here to see why we got so excited; terrific graphics, our own data, direct from NOAA, and some amazing developers and programmers who are just as excited about meteorology as we are. BTW, WeatherNation's main web site is here. I'm a little biased, but I think we've come a long way in 1 year. We're building 2 more HD weather studios, we have 6 remarkable on-air meteorologists, two of them are bilingual (English and Spanish). Our newest hire, Denise Isaac hails from Panama. Susie Martin was born in Costa Rica - I feel lucky and blessed to be working with the two of them, as well as Todd Nelson and Gretchen Mishek (both Minnesota natives) and Kristin Clark, who came to us from Colorado Springs (and whose parents are both veteran TV meteorologists at the same station in Pennsylvania - I went to college with both of them). I know, small world. But I still wouldn't want to clean it.

Severe Weather Update from Ham Weather, a WeatherNation company. Frost advisories are posted through the early morning hours for most of central and southern Minnesota, Wisconsin and northeastern Iowa. A freeze warning (implying at least 3-4 hours of temperatures colder than 28 F. is in effect for northeastern MN and northern Wisconsin).

For the record, I sold a company to Garmin back in early 2007. Digital Cyclone is still going strong in Minnetonka - some of my best friends on the planet are still working there, growing the company, which specializes in subscription weather on cell phones. Last year they were the only division of Garmin to show actual revenue growth! I'm proud of my old team, yes, and thankful for good timing. Had I not sold DCI to Garmin I would now be living in a van down by the river, close to where Chris Farley had his rig. It would be a nice van, complete with DirecTV and wireless internet, but I'm grateful that things worked out the way they did, in light of WCCO-TV's desire to cut costs and set me free. What's the right word? "Right-sizing?" A few years from now I'm pretty sure I'll be able to look back and say "aha, that's why my career took a drastic turn." For now I have my hands full with WeatherNation and Singular Logic (our attempt to rid the world of unwanted Cialis ads - allowing consumers to choose the preferences of ads they're willing to watch). We pick all the content we want to see - only makes sense that someday soon we'll be choosing the advertisements, too.

Disclaimer: I did NOT invent Doppler Radar. I did launch 3-D weather graphics on KARE-11 back in 1991, a company called EarthWatch, which was also a lot of fun (when I wasn't on the verge of a nervous breakdown). Starting a company is equal parts misery and euphoria, but it's in my blood. I love it, especially the early stages: dreaming up the idea, getting the initial team together, proving the business model, and God-willing, generating some revenue to keep the wheels from coming off the bus. It's never been easier to start a company. The Internet really has leveled the playing field tremendously. If you have a great idea, a true niche, and you can find a handful of great people who believe just as passionately as you do, it's now possible to create something amazing in your guest bedroom (working in your underwear, if you so choose). Today it's not about seed money or who you know - it's about the power of your idea and speed to market. The one thing your competitors can't copy or clone is creativity and innovation. Americans have always been good at this game, and when I talk to groups of all sizes I encourage people to consider starting a company. The old saying was "everyone has at least one good book in them." I've modified that into "everyone has at least one great start-up business in them." Today, more than ever, you can't rely on an employer to look out after you (I found that out the hard way). You have to depend on yourself, your own wits and gut instincts. Without going on a political rant, I only wish some of that stimulus money - the bucks that went to Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, could have gone to small businesses, start-ups, which really are the lifeblood of American business. Enough said.

I'm helping my son launch a music-related web site, and my wife (an AIA architect) has a great idea for a local, Minnesota-centric web site for people hoping to build or renovate a home. I'm helping them out as best I can, and I'm happy to put in my two cents if you have an idea you want to run past me (happy to sign an NDA or non-disclosure - I'm not going to steal your idea...I honestly want to encourage and help as many other aspiring entrepreneurs as possible in the coming years). If I can help you out with a business concept drop me a line at I can't help out with seed money (believe me, all my money is tied up in the 3 businesses I'm currently starting up) but I'm happy to lend an ear, give you an opinion, maybe offer up a bit of encouragement.

Where was I? Oh yeah - the weather! It's frosty out there - you'll need a few extra minutes to defrost the car, the kids will need a heavier jacket at the bus stop. The frost is coming about a week earlier than usual, give or take, but this does NOT mean the winter will be longer or harsher than usual. Think of this as atmospheric payback for 3 amazing, lukewarm weeks in a row earlier this month. Deep down we all knew the other shoe (boot) would eventually drop.

WRF-NMM Model Outlook valid 7 am Friday morning. This graphic shows predicted rainfall between 1 am and 7 am Friday morning, with some heavier, 1"+ amounts predicted for much of central and southern Minnesota, some badly needed rain may be 36-48 hours away. The latest model is predicting a total of 1.2" of rain from Thursday into early Saturday morning. Let's hope the models are right (for a change).

GFS Outlook valid Saturday evening at 7 pm. Our late-week storm is forecast to be centered over Michigan, tracking steadily east, meaning your outdoor weekend plans are probably not in grave peril. We may wake up to some puddles Saturday morning, but the vast majority of the weekend should be dry, and seasonably cool for this time of year.

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Frosty start. Bright sun gives way to increasing high clouds by late afternoon. Winds: SE 10-20. High: 61

Tonight: Clouds lower and thicken, not as chilly. Low: 45

Thursday: Showers develop, possible thunder. High: 57

Friday: Periods of rain, heavy at times. High: 56

Saturday: Damp start, then partly sunny and pleasantly cool. High: 58

Sunday: Plenty of sun, cooler than average, but not bad at all. High: near 60

Monday: More clouds, showers arrive by PM hours. High: 58

Tuesday: Unsettled, another shower or two. high: 56

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy, a shower or two - chilly enough for a few flurries far north? High: near 52

Typhoon Ketsana
just slammed into Vietnam, packing 95 mph. winds and torrential rains. When Ketsana was a tropical storm it dumped over 20" of rain on the northern Philippines, the capital of Manila was very hard hit - some suburbs picking up more rain than fell during Hurricane Katrina! Hundreds have died - we may not know the full extent of this tragedy for a few more days.

Monday, September 28, 2009

First frost northern/eastern 'burbs

Deep down we knew there would be some nasty payback for 3 weeks of uninterrupted weather bliss, right? I had a hunch Mother Nature would make a scene, throwing tree branches, screaming at us for being so complacent - and sure enough, she reminded us who's in charge on Sunday with gusts as high as 52 mph at MSP, a wild wind whipping up as high as 66 mph at Willmar. I'm still searching for my left contact lense - my sideburns were last observed over Waterloo, Iowa, moving south/southeast at a high rate of speed. I miss them.

A little perspective here: tropical storm force is (sustained) winds of 39, hurricane force is sustained at 74+ mph. mph. But the most recent storm fit the definition of a "gale", defined as (non-tropical) sustained winds of 39-46You've heard Gordon Lightfoot's classic "Gales of November", forever immortalizing the sinking of the iron ore carrier, Edmund Fitzgerald, during an incredible storm on November 10, 1970. Winds on Lake Superior approached hurricane force with towering 30-35 foot seas; there are lot's of theories about what ultimately sank the ship, killing all 29 aboard - a rogue wave may have literally snapped the 729 foot long vessel in half. My point? Large north-south contrasts in temperature can conjure up raging storms from late September into November - the transition from summer to winter isn't smooth and linear; it can be exceedingly turbulent and severe. The bigger the temperature spread - the stronger the winds have to blow for the atmosphere to maintain equilibrium. That's why the sharpest cold fronts whip up the strongest winds.

WRF/NMM Model - Predicted 7 am Wednesday morning temperatures. Note the extensive area of mid/upper 20s (darker blue shading) forecast for much of northern and eastern Minnesota and a huge swath of Wisconsin. The far northern and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities, from Princeton and Isanti to Taylors Falls, Hugo and Stillwater, stand the best chance of a frost tomorrow morning. A breeze and increasing clouds may prevent a frost/freeze over roughly the western half of Minnesota tomorrow morning.

Today will be a big step in the right direction as winds ease up, the pressure gradient relaxing over Minnesota as a Great Lakes storm pushes east. Skies clear with more sunshine, and after a cool start the day should mellow into a fine example of late September at its best, complete with highs in the upper 50s to near 60. Not bad at all.

The rumors are true: many plants over northern and central Minnesota run the risk of freezing their buds off late tonight. Under clear skies with a dry atmosphere and just a light whiff of a breeze, temperatures will fall off rapidly, sinking into the 30s over much of the state. The "urban heat island" (more asphalt, concrete, businesses and homes re-radiating heat absorbed during the day) will keep the Twin Cities metro area a little warmer, most close-in suburbs bottoming out near 40 or so. If you have some plants you want to keep around awhile longer you might want to cover them up or bring them indoors, if possible. From St. Cloud, Elk River and Cambridge on north toward Aitkin and Grand Rapids the first widespread frost of the season is likely, a few towns farther north and east (over the MN Arrowhead) may experience a freeze, defined as 3-4 hours or more colder than 28 degrees F, cold enough to kill off almost all plantlife. As you can see from the data below showing the median date of the first 32/28/24 degree temperature, freezing temperatures in late September are not unusual at all.

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Cool sun much of the day, winds ease up - much nicer. Winds: N 5-15. High: ne0ar 6

Tonight: Clear, frost likely outside of town - best chance north/east of St. Cloud. Low: 36 (downtown) but frost possible far northern/eastern suburbs.

Tomorrow: Sun fading behind increasing high clouds, milder. High: 66

Thursday: Cloudy with showers developing, possible thunder. High: 62

Friday: Windy with periods of rain. High: near 60

Saturday: Lingering clouds, a shower or sprinkle. High: 58

Sunday: Partly sunny, brighter day of the weekend. High: 57

Monday: More sun, a bit milder. High: 62

City First 32 First 28 First 24

Brainerd 9/21 10/1 10/15

St. Cloud 9/24 10/5 10/17

Twin Cities 10/7 10/20 11/3

Latest USA Watches/Warnings. Freeze watches are posted for northeastern and north central Minnesota for Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, where the combination of clear skies, little or no wind and a dry, Canadian atmosphere may allow temperatures to fall below 28 F. for 3 hours or more, cold enough - long enough, to kill off most annuals. Click here for the latest national watches/warnings/advisories (click on the map to zoom in for even more information).

To see a National Weather Service graphic of the median date for first 32/28/24 for scores of Minnesota towns click here.

DNR Fall Foliage Update. A lingering drought coupled with an abnormally mild first three weeks of September has slowed down (and in some cases muted) fall color statewide. The most color now can be found near Willmar and Hutchinson, with another pocket of color in the Grand Rapids area. But color along the North Shore of Lake Superior is running 1-2 weeks later than usual, due primarily to an unusual string of 60s and 70s for much of this month. Click here to go direct to the DNR site.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Octemberish - Don't You Think

OK, now I don't feel so bad having recently just purchased pumpkins and putting up the Halloween decor. I felt like I was jumping the gun a bit since the weather was so warm. This is more like it. A n-ICE fresh breeze from the north... BRR! I hope you had enough time yesterday afternoon to fish those extra layers out of the back of the closet, you'll surely need them today. It feels a little more October-like and just in time because the first day of October is this Thursday. Can you believe it? Yesterday's cool front slapped us in the face with a near 20 degree temperature drop in about 6 hours. Take a look at the surface observations below from the Minneapolis International Airport. I've highlighted the temperatures in the yellow box. Note the temperature at 3pm (14:53) yesterday, 72 degrees. By 8pm (19:53) the temperature at the KMSP airport was only 55 degrees, a deficit of 17 degrees in only 6 hours. I also highlighted the winds in the red box at 5pm (16:53) because there was a 52mph wind gust reported at that time. The highest wind gust reported yesterday was in Willmar at 66mph. The St. Cloud airport recorded a 40mph wind gust at 4pm.

The winds were strong enough to topple trees and down power lines across parts of the Twin Cities Metro, which left thousands without power for several hours.

Strong Winds Again Today

The NOAA image below shows the sustained winds expected at 1pm Monday. The wind barbs are from the northwest and valued at 20mph to 25mph. Wind gusts could be up around 30mph to 40mph again, so get ready for another blustery day.

Nearly 20 Degrees Cooler Today

The NOAA image below shows the temperature forecast at 1pm Monday. Many locations around central and northern Minnesota will have a tough time reaching the upper 50's for high temperatures and with winds as strong as they'll be, it'll feel like the 40's for most of the day there.

Todd's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Cloudy, blustery and cold. Winds gust from 20-40 mph. High: 59

Tonight: Becoming partly cloudy and less breezy. Cold with a few areas of patchy frost. Low: 41

Tuesday: Sunny, less wind and cool. High: 61

Wednesday: Patchy AM frost. Sunny with increasing clouds late. High: 65

Thursday: Showers/T-storm possible. High: 67

Friday: Showers taper, turning breezy and cooler. High: near 62

Saturday: Spotty showers and cool. High: 60

Sunday: More sun, still cool. High: 62

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Coldest Air of the Season Blowing In

I have a strange sense of urgency to mow the lawn, rake the leaves, find and bury some acorns... take care of a few things before the chill. Are you ready? It'll be hard to say goodbye to our sublime September as temperatures plummet this afternoon/evening. A wind-whipped northwesterly breeze will signify the frontal passage and you'll know when it hits because the winds will be gusting to near 40mph at times. This will be the coldest push of air of the season with temperatures falling nearly 15 degrees from where we were earlier this weekend. Are you ready? Actual air temperatures will struggle to get into the 60's for most locations around Minnesota on Monday and with another bout of strong winds, it may even feel like the upper 40's for a time. There is a good chance that locations in central and northern Minnesota will have their first frost of the season on Tuesday morning. Are you ready? *SIGH* I don't think I am quite yet.

Looking at the Numbers

The image below shows the high and low temperatures over the next 7 days. I've circled the high temperatures for each day and put a blue box around the coldest days Monday and Tuesday. Yes, those are the HIGH temperatures expected for those days... Brr!

The Mighty BUFKIT

The image below is from one of my favorite weather models, BUFKIT. The neat thing about this interpretation is that we can go hour by hour to see temps, winds and moisture present at all levels of the atmosphere. I've stopped this particular model at 4pm Sunday to show the strong northwesterly winds expected at that time. The blue circle in the bottom right hand corner shows the wind direction in degrees (using the 360 degree compass) and the sustained wind speed. Winds will likely be sustained in the 25 mph range through the late afternoon with gusts to near 40mph, possibly even 50mph across the southwestern part of the state. Interestingly, it is also showing a bit of rain at that time too, but don't be alarmed if you're planning on taking the Light Rail back from Vikes game - it won't be much.

Todd's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Increasing clouds with a spotty shower or two, better chance late, then gusty, turning cooler. Winds gust to 35+ High: 71 (falling into the 50s PM hours).

Tonight: Window rattler type of night, noisy, the kids may want an extra book at bed time. Low: 48

Monday: Blustery and cold with a little more sun. Winds gust from 20-40 mph. High: 60

Tuesday: Partly cloudy, winds ease a bit. High: 61

Wednesday: Fading sun, milder. High: near 67

Thursday: Showers possible. High: 66

Friday: Showers taper, turning breezy and cooler. High: near 62

Friday, September 25, 2009

Could it be?

Yesterday's rainfall of 0.37" puts the monthly rainfall total at 0.38" at the Twin Cities Airport, nearly 2" behind normal for the month. At this pace, we are likely to see the driest September on record. Our best chance of rain over the last few days of the month appear to be Sunday afternoon when the next cool blast plows through, but it appears we'll stay in the driest September slot through the end of the month. One thing is for sure, we'll definitely see our coolest readings of the season Monday and Tuesday behind the front so get ready. Temperatures will be a little cooler than average for a change and may even have a hard time getting out of the 50's across central and northern Minnesota.

Fall Color Update

The image below is from one of my good friends from Duluth Minnesota. Rich Koivisto took this picture of maple leaves that have prematurely fallen from their summer home. Cool nights ahead will sharpen the fall colors and speed the process up. Look for brighter colors over the coming days and don't forget to enjoy the view. Strong gusty winds on Sunday and Monday may have more of those premature fall leaves falling to the ground.

The MNDNR has a great website to show fall color reports:

Places just southwest of St. Cloud are nearing peak! A great time to head out and enjoy the sights and sounds before the winter bite.

More Fall Pictures from Rich

If you have a weather photo that you'd like to have published here - send them to me!

Todd's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Saturday: Passing shower or sprinkle possible early, otherwise patchy AM fog and partly sunny and warmer. High: 71

Tonight: Partly cloudy and quiet. Low: 56

Sunday: More showers - better chance late, then gusty, turning cooler. Winds gust to 35+ High: 70 (falling into the 50s PM hours).

Monday: Blustery and cold with a little more sun. Winds gust from 20-40 mph. High: 60

Tuesday: Partly cloudy, winds ease a bit. High: 64

Wednesday: Fading sun, milder. High: near 70

Thursday: Showers possible. High: 66

Friday: Showers taper, turning breezy and cooler. High: near 64

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Dust Settles in Sydney

The images below are from one of the worst dust storms to hit Sydney Australia in over 70 years. Fueled by strong gusty winds near 60 to 70mph, an estimated 5 million tons of dust was carried hundreds of miles to Sydney, which blanketed the city for a staggering 8 hours. Several international flights had to be delayed or diverted, ferries were suspended and air quality indices sky rocketed into unhealthy levels during the event. Considering Australia is the 2nd driest continent behind Antarctica, dust storms are quite common, but the region is facing one of its worst droughts ever on record, making this event quite rare.

Australian dust storm seen from space.

Still Dry Around Town - Relief in Sight?

As of 7pm Thursday evening, the Twin Cities Airport was 2.23" behind normal precipitation for the month of September. There have only been two days of rain this month adding up to a dismal 0.01" - which makes it the driest start to a September since 1891.

Looking ahead, today and tonight appear to be our next best chances at precipitation. Latest model runs keep most of the precipitation across far southern Minnesota, but it has been trending northward over time, which means that we could see a little more than what previous runs have shown (0.25" to 0.50") keep your fingers, toes and eyes crossed!

This is what the weather maps show for Friday, again notice the heavier moisture across southern Minnesota. We'll get the left-overs of what ever develops to our south. The important thing, though, is that it does look like we'll be adding some positive numbers to the rain department over the next 24 to 36 hours.

Todd's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Mostly cloudy, period of rain, possible thunder. High: 67

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, spotty light showers tapering. Low: 56

Saturday: Lot's of clouds, unsettled, passing shower or sprinkle early. High: 70

Sunday: More showers - better chance late, then gusty, turning cooler. Winds gust to 35+ High: 72 (falling into the 50s PM hours).

Monday: Blustery and cold with a little more sun. Winds gust from 20-40 mph. High: 61

Tuesday: Partly cloudy, winds ease a bit. High: 64

Wednesday: Fading sun, milder. High: near 70

Thursday: Showers possible. High: 65

Friday: Showers taper, turning breezy and cooler. High: near 60

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A September for the record books

What you need to know....

Today: Intervals of sun, more 70s....last lukewarm day in sight for the next week or so.

Friday: Half an inch of badly needed rain possible - wettest day in sight.

Saturday: Unsettled, lot's of clouds, passing shower (dry most of the day).

Sunday: Gusty, turning colder with more showers, winds top 35 mph, falling temperatures.

Monday: Feels like mid October! Temperatures stuck in the 50s, wind chill in the 30s, first flurries possible up north?

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Partly sunny and unseasonably warm. Chance of a shower or T-shower (mainly south of the metro area). Winds: SE 5-10. High: 76

Tonight: Lot's of clouds, showers by morning. Low: 58

Friday: Mostly cloudy, period of rain, possible thunder. High: 67

Saturday: Lot's of clouds, unsettled, passing shower or sprinkle. High: 65

Sunday: More showers, then gusty, turning cooler. Winds gust to 35+ High: 67 (falling into the 50s PM hours).

Monday: Blustery and cold with clouds and sprinkles. Winds gust from 20-40 mph. High: 58

Tuesday: Partly cloudy, winds ease a bit. High: 63

Wednesday: Fading sun, milder. High: near 70

Thursday: Showers possible. High: 64

Friday: Showers taper, turning breezy and cooler. High: near 60

What a month. Temperatures are averaging close to 7 degrees warmer than normal - statistically very significant (by comparison July/August temperatures were 1-2 degrees cooler than average). Much of July jet stream winds, the prevailing winds 4-6 miles overhead, were howling from the northwest, a pattern more typical of September. Only now that it's September winds aloft are light and erratic, storms stalling, meandering, stalling - producing copious/flooding rains. That's what you'd expect to see in mid summer, July, when winds aloft tend to be lightest, storms most likely to stall (and flood). So let me get this straight: we had September in July, and now we're having July in September. Makes sense to me.

But try explaining our wacky weather to dazed residents of Madison, WI, still drying out from nearly 4" of rain on Monday, the 8th wettest day in Madison history. Conditions in Georgia are considerably worse, with more widespread flooding - some towns have picked up 12-18" of rain so far in September, about half a year's worth of rain falling in little more than 2 weeks. Very strange. Yes, weather is often extreme & unpredictable, but I can't remember a summer season that turned out to be this big a head-scratcher. Just when you think you've seen everything....along comes a year like this. Kind of makes you psyched for the winter huh?

Let me do my San Diego weather-dude impersonation: "fog and stratus will burn away between 10 and 11 am, plenty of midday and afternoon sunshine, enough for highs in the upper 70s." A few optimistic bank thermometers (receiving direct sunlight) may flash 80 degrees in the shade. Not too shabby for September 24, considering we could be scraping fancy designs into frosty windshields and tracking snowflakes up north by the 4th week of September.

Friday Puddles? The latest WRF/NMM model shows significant rain surging into Minnesota from the south/southeast on Friday. Some 1-3" amounts are possible close to home - right now it's premature to know where the heaviest rain bands will set up, but Friday may bring the best chance of rain we've seen yet this month. Considering we've picked up a whopping .01" so far in September it would be great to look out at a landscape covered in puddles, especially if we're stuck at work and school. Friday appears to be the wettest day, the latest model prints out just over half an inch of rain - we dry out a bit on Saturday; the next cold front sparking another outbreak of scattered, spotty showers on Sunday.

Another Solution. A variation of the WRF model is printing out less rain across Minnesota by Saturday morning, keeping the heaviest (1-2") amounts over far southeastern Minnesota and eastern Iowa.

Speaking of the s-word: a few of the computers are adamant that the jet stream, the high-speed river of air that pushes weather systems around the globe, will BUCKLE by Sunday, plunging a rude blast of Canadian air into Minnesota. We'll be lugging around hefty jackets from late Sunday into Tuesday as winds gust to 40 mph. Sunday night and again Monday night (after dark) it may be chilly enough aloft for a few snow flurries to reach the ground. Not sure about accumulation (ground temperatures are still very warm - not sure anything will be able to pile up downwind of the Great Lakes) but it will FEEL cold enough to snow by Monday evening across much of Minnesota and Wisconsin. I could say something pithy and profound like "we're overdue" or "you KNEW this was going to happen" but I have more respect for you than that. Look, we've gone the entire month of September without shivering. The sun is as high in the sky now as it was back on March 20 (!) so yes, we're due for a change in the weather. If it's any consolation a rapid warming trend is likely next week (back into the 60s) and the long-range GFS model is hinting at 70 the first week of October.

It's just a taste, a refreshing slap across the face, an omen of what's to come. Go ahead and bring some of the longsleeve shirts, sweatshirts and jackets out of cold storage. Put away the lawn chairs, get the dock out of the water (now!) while it's still relatively pleasant. Put this expanded/extended summer to good use - you'll thank yourself with the snow is falling (horizontally) and that annoying guy down the hall greets you with the latest wind chill reading. Something to live for....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Not very autumnal

Yesterday, at precisely 4:18 pm central time, the sun's direct rays passed over the equator, marking the autumnal equinox, the official kick-off of the Fall of '09. In reality autumn really began closer to September 1, when "meteorological summer" came to an end. Climatologists tracking the warmest 90 day period, the balmiest 3 months, admit that summer REALLY kicks off June 1 and goes through September 1. I guess we've just been living a lie these last 3+ weeks, although I have to say that September has been more memorable, more lake-worthy and tempting, than just about anything I can recall back in July and August. Yes, it was a "Manitoba Summer", the edge came off the heat. Many Minnesotans were just fine with Summer Lite, but a significant percentage of friends, family and colleagues felt irritated, CHEATED that we never had any true Dog Day weather, you know: week after week of hot, stuffy, steamy, unbearable weather. Speaking of cheated, residents of Minneapolis/St. Paul are wondering what happened to the showers that looked like such a sure thing on Monday. Crystal picked up .13" of rain, .12" at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, and yet the airport (MSP International) saw only a trace of rain. Same at St. Paul: a trace! The story of the month.

Last month Chaska picked up 10" of rain. So far this month: about 1/10th of an inch. That's 1/100th the amount that fell just 30 days ago. What gives? Whoever is playing with the atmospheric thermostat please stop! We can't take too much more of this...

July was cool, August was wet (one of the 10 wettest on record) and now September: the driest in recent decades, and one of the warmest too. Temperatures are averaging 5-7 degrees above normal, a trend which may just linger through the end of the month. With generous sunshine returning again today we should see some mid 70s, 80 is not out of the question again Thursday as Minnesota finds itself "between storms". One cut-off low doing the twist over the central Plains (capable of dumping 6-16" of snow west of Denver by midweek above 9,000 feet). That area of low pressure will eventually open up and lift northeastward, increasing the chance for rain here by Friday and Saturday. Check out the computer simulation below: the latest run keeps most of the rain to our east, over Wisconsin, on Saturday, with leftover clouds and a few light showers or sprinkles for Minnesota (it does not look as wet as yesterday's run).

In between Storms
. Madison, WI picked up close to 4" of rain on Tuesday, a 24 hour rainfall record. Meanwhile a stalled storm "cut off" from the main jet stream, swirling over the central Plains, may dump over 10" of snow near Aspen by Thursday...a potentially early start to the ski season west of Denver this weekend. That storm to our southwest will approach later in the week, increasing the potential for the first significant rain of September by Friday and Saturday.

Although shirtsleeves, sunglasses and short reign supreme the next couple of days (if you can get away with it) have a jacket handy for Sunday and Monday of next week. A surge of chilly air jabs south of the border - by Sunday evening it will be cold enough for flurries over Lake Superior's North Shore. Monday looks gusty and foul with wind-whipped showers and sprinkles, winds puffing away at over 30 mph, temperatures holding in the 50s over much of Minnesota. A rapid warming is set for next week; we will see more 60s, probably another run of 70s toward the very end of September and the first week of October. Nothing wintry in sight (yet) but by Sunday we'll all get a definite taste of autumn. Yes, we are due for a.....taste.

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Partly cloudy and mild. Winds: NE 5-10. High: 75

Tonight: Mostly clear and cool. Low: 53

Thursday: Warm sunshine, still feels like late August. High: near 80

Friday: More clouds, a few showers, possible thunder. High: 76

Saturday: Lingering clouds, unsettled. Little more than a light shower or sprinkle. High: 72

Sunday: Better chance of showers, turning windy and cooler. High: 66 (falling during the PM)

Monday: Feels like autumn (finally!) Mostly cloudy, gusty, cool with showers/sprinkles. High: 58

Tuesday: Less wind, more sun, not as uncomfortable. High: 63

Wednesday: Sunny, breezy, turning milder again. High: 72

GFS Model Output valid Saturday evening at 7 pm. The map shows rainfall in the 12 hour period from 7 am to 7 pm Saturday, showing the brunt of the shower activity to our east in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. A showery, unsettled weekend is likely; another surge of showers arriving Sunday with a vigorous cool front that will have us reaching for jackets early next week.

Back to normal on the sun? It's not much: one lonely sunspot, but after the fewest sunspots on the sun in nearly a century astronomers are observing more sunspots coming into view. A handful of climatologists are linking this lack of sunspots to cool weather over North America this past summer - a return to normal (ie. more sunspots) could mean a return to milder conditions yearround. Time will tell. For more information click here and read up more at

Monday, September 21, 2009

A ration of rain

Yesterday people actually stopped in their tracks, frozen with fear, looking up (gawking!) - pointing at a strange sight, a damp, runny sky. A light, clear, tasteless, lukewarm liquid spilled out of some scrappy low clouds, what a few know-it-alls in our midst casually referred to as "rain". Yes, it was a real head-scratcher, coming after 23-25 bone-dry days in a row. This "rain" fell at a pretty good clip for a time across central Minnesota; .18" of rain fell on St. Cloud with .12" at Alexandria, the most in the state. The Twin Cities area got ripped off again, with just a trace of showers, enough to damped sidewalks and throw a little spray onto windshields, barely enough to settle the dust.

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Mostly cloudy, cooler, a few light showers or sprinkles (better chance of 2-4 hours of rain across Wisconsin). Winds: N 5-15. High: near 70

Tonight: Patchy clouds, drying out. Low: 56

Wednesday: Partly sunny and milder, a drier day. High: 74

Thursday: Warm sun, feels like late August again. High: near 80

Friday: Sun giving way to increasing clouds. Showers, possible T-storm late. High: 77

Saturday: Cloudy, better chance of rain, possibly significant. High: 71

Sunday: Windy and cooler as showers taper off. High: 66 (falling into the 50s later in the day?)

WRF/NMM Model Output valid 7 pm this evening. This top map shows expected rain falling between 1 pm and 7 pm today, the majority of the showers popping just east of the St. Croix River Valley and along the North Shore of Lake Superior. The temperature graphic shows the mildest weather to our east, over Wisconsin, temperatures steadily dropping the farther west you drive across Minnesota today. Dinnertime temperatures range from low 70s in the Twin Cities to upper 60s (St. Cloud) to mid and upper 50s over far western Minnesota, near the Dakota line, closer to the cold upper-level low, where locals may need a light jacket much of the day.

Mother Nature is teasing us again, flashing a few showers close to home, a mere glimpse of rain, but I don't see any significant rainfall amounts until possibly Saturday, when a surge of southern moisture finally reaches Minnesota. That's right: Saturday appears to be the wettest day in sight. In the meantime most of the showers will push into Wisconsin today, weakening - losing all upper-air support. A storm is in the process of stalling out near Denver (dumping more than 10" of snow above 9,000 feet near Aspen, Colorado), keeping the Mile High City soggy and cool, highs stuck in the 50s. As that storm in the upper atmosphere drifts away from Minnesota (tracking southwestward!) we should see more of the sun Wednesday and Thursday, temperatures rising well into the 70s to near 80. The latter half of the week looks dry, with rain probably holding off until Saturday (see the models below). Rain may linger into Sunday morning/midday, tapering to sprinkles/drizzle by afternoon as winds swing around to the north or northwest, temperatures falling through the 60s into the 50s. No, it doesn't look like an awe-inspiring weekend, but (everyone - in unison)....we need the rain! At the rate we're going this could easily turn into one of the 10 driest Septembers on record for much of Minnesota.

GFS Output for Saturday evening at 7 pm. The map shows surface isobars and expected rainfall, the heaviest amounts showing up as yellows and reds. It's still early, but right now Saturday appears to be the wettest day in sight, the best chance of significant rainfall amounts we've had all September. We're due...

Temperature Trend for December, January and February. Here's the latest long-range outlook from CPC, the Climate Prediction Center in Washington D.C. (part of NOAA). Based almost entirely on El Nino, the warming equatorial water off the coast of Peru and Equator there is a statistical bias toward milder winters over the northern tier states, cooler/wetter weather predicted for much of the southern U.S. One thing that isn't being factored in: sunspots, or a lack thereof. A number of scientists are tracing America's cooler than average summer to a complete dearth of sunspots, the fewest since the 1920. Stay tuned...this is 'gonna get interesting. Place your bets.

Agricultural Summary (thanks to the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture)

Last week's warm, dry weather allowed small grain producers to bring this
year's harvest closer to completion, according to the USDA, NASS, Minnesota
Field Office. As of Sunday, 86 percent of spring wheat was harvested, an 18
percentage-point increase from last week; while barley was 90 percent
harvested a 12 point gain from one week ago. Nearly 7 days were suitable
for fieldwork, statewide.

Average temperatures ranged from 4 to 15 degrees above normal throughout
the state. No reporting stations recorded any measurable precipitation. As
of Sunday, rainfall amounts were one-half to over 3 inches below normal
over the past four weeks. Topsoil moisture supplies were 53 percent
adequate to surplus, down from 66 percent last week.

Seventy-six percent of corn was at or beyond the dent stage, 20 points
higher than a week ago, but 17 points behind last year and 15 points behind
the five-year average. Four percent of corn was rated mature compared to 16
percent last year and 40 percent average. Forty-nine percent of soybeans
were dropping leaves, up 33 points from last week and one point ahead of
last year's pace. Ten percent of soybeans were rated mature, 3 points ahead
of last year, but 18 points behind average, as harvest began in some areas.
Statewide, 70 percent of corn and 66 percent of soybeans were rated in good
to excellent condition, both down 2 points from a week ago.

Sugarbeet harvest was 8 percent complete with 68 percent of the crop in
good to excellent condition. Potatoes were 37 percent harvested by week's
end. Sweet corn harvest advanced to 83 percent complete. Other crops being
harvested included dry beans at 25 percent and canola at 46 percent

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Summer Overtime

True confession: I get nervous, flop-sweat, look-over-my-shoulder, heart palpitation, call-my-mom nervous when it stays this nice for so long. Yes, when Minnesota's weather is characterized as "magical" or "wondrous" or even "unprecedented" I look upstream, holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe (or boot) to drop. In the spirit of equilibrium bouts of picturesque weather are usually followed by incredibly FOUL weather. In the last 23 days we've picked up a paltry .01" of rain, not even enough to settle the dust. The weather has been scary-nice, San Diego (with lakes), almost as if a contrite Mother Nature was trying to make up for a less than satisfying summer.

A parade of cool fronts much of July and August has given rise to a holding pattern much of September, storms stalled over the south, a persistent fair-weather bubble straddling the Upper Midwest day after day, week after week. Pollen is off the scale (ask any allergy sufferer, if you can get a word in between sneezes, wheezes and's bad out there). The drought is getting worse - if we don't get a couple of good soakings between now and when the ground freezes up (early November) that could spell trouble for next year. Check out the map below from the National Weather Service.

Driest Septembers in the Twin Cities

1). .01" 2009

2). .08" 1891

3). .10" 1969

* September is running 6.4 degrees warmer than average in Minneapolis/St. Paul; we've had 11 days above 80 degrees.

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Mostly cloudy with a growing chance of showers. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 74

Tonight: Lot's of clouds, a few showers in the area. Low: 58

Tuesday: Cooler, still mostly-gray with a passing shower (much of the day should be dry). High: near 70

Wednesday: Partly sunny, milder again. High: 76

Thursday: A blend of clouds and sun, warmer than average. High: near 80

Friday: Plenty of sunshine, pretty spectacular. High: 79

Saturday: Clouds increase, showers moving in. High: 74

Sunday: Showers taper to sprinkles, cool and damp. High: 69

When in a drought, don't predict rain. Here is the WRF model prediction for rainfall between now and Wednesday morning at 7 am. Very significant, 2-3"+ rains are predicted for Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and much of the Ohio Valley. The Chicago area is forecast to pick up nearly 1" of rain, with some .20 to .30" amounts for far western Minnesota. Notice the lack of rain over east central and southeastern Minnesota though. Storms are forecast to temporarily stall over the Great Lakes and the western Plains, a pattern which pretty much insures you'll have to get out there and water the lawn (by hand) this week. The best chance of a little rain comes today, but I still can't get excited about amounts; most towns will receive less than .10" rain, if that.

Predicted Weather Map for today at 7 pm. Keep in mind that systems are pretty much stalled, the cool front approaching from the Dakotas running out of "cool push". In fact the area of moisture is forecast to "retrograde", drifting toward the WEST in the coming 48 hours, keeping most of the showers across the Dakotas and Iowa, with another stalled storm focusing rain near Cleveland and Detroit. I know, a very odd pattern, which can't hang on too much longer. I'm amazed it's gone on this long!

Bookmark-Worthy? I found another great site worthy of your time and attention. What's great about this graphic: cloud imagery combined with Doppler Radar imagery AND airport information (blue dots show VFR conditions, visual flight rules, purple is MVFR and red is IFR conditions, requiring instruments due to low visibility, precipitation, or both. In addition if you look carefully you can see surface models for major towns (a legend to clarify what you're seeing is in the upper right). To see the very latest "Surface Plot" click here. Thanks to Leads On-line (IPS) for some terrific on-line information, one of the better graphics I've seen.

Tomorrow: a look at the winter to come. What is the National Weather Service predicting? Just how terrified should we be? Here's a hint: El Nino may take some of the edge off the Winter of '10. Stay tuned....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nicest September on Earth?

O.K. I'm going to get some serious push-back on that headline. Yes, the tropics are still wondrous - nothing wrong with the Virgin Islands or Cabo San Lucas or even La Jolla, California, for that matter. But factoring in traffic, the expense of getting to that magical destination - I'm going to pull the lever for Minnesota. Not sure it's ever happened before, but think about this for a moment:

Warm sunshine every day...

Humidity levels not nearly as high and nasty as back in July....

No severe weather to worry about....

Light winds, just a faint puff of a breeze....

Unlike the tropics, no need to keep checking the Weather Channel on cable to see if a 150 mph hurricane is on the way.

Even the forecast for this upcoming week has mellowed with age, like a fine wine (something a cork). A week ago some of the long-range (GFS) guidance was hinting at frost up north, even a few flurries near the Canadian border. Well each computer run gets warmer and warmer, and now we're looking at a downright anemic cool front limping across the state Monday with a few hours of showers. Not much of a cool push behind this frontal boundary, it may be a few degrees cooler by Tuesday and Wednesday. Highs reach the 70s every day this week, we may hit 80 again later in the week (again!) In fact, temperatures remain balmy through the first few days of October!!

At this rate we're probably looking at one of the 3 warmest Septembers on record, temperatures for the month may average 6-8 degrees above average, which (statistically) is very significant. Making up for a cool summer? Perhaps. It is amazing how the atmosphere has a tendency to "even things out" over the long haul.

Saturday Highs

St. Cloud: 84

Twin Cities: 83 (11th time this month above 80)

International Falls: 83 (20 degrees above average!)

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: More hazy sun, our extended summer hangs on one more day! It should be windier than Saturday was. Winds: SE 10-20. High: 81

Tonight: Partly cloudy, unseasonably mild. Low: 59

Monday: Clouds stream in, a few showers, slight chance of thunder. High: 74

Tuesday: More clouds than sun, best chance of showers south of town. High: 76

Wednesday: Partly cloudy, probably dry. High: 77

Thursday: Hazy sun, unseasonably mild. High: 78

Friday: Warm sun, no sign of a serious cold front - yet. High: near 80

Saturday: Intervals of sun, hazy, drought getting worse. High: 78

Records across the USA last week. The red dots symbolize towns where record highs were set. Blue symbols are record lows, the green dots signify record rainfall events. You can definitely see a pattern unfolding, a stalled storm over the south responsible for copious rains, while stalled high pressure and an unusually mild south/southwest wind pattern sparked a rash of record highs from Wisconsin westward to California. This graphic is just one of THOUSANDS you can find, free of charge, at Ham Weather, a division of WeatherNation. We are thrilled to be working with the smart and creative weather enthusiasts who built this site - see for yourself right here.

1 pm Temperatures on Saturday. This would be a typical weather map for the first or second week of August. These readings are a good 10-20 degrees above average for the third week of September. If you want to check out real-time conditions for yourself, check out what the University of Utah is doing with their MesoWest web site - some terrific capabilities here!

WRF-NAMM Model Valid 7 pm Monday. The "NAM" shows the best chance of heavier Monday showers (possible thunder) over far western Minnesota, with only light showers in the Twin Cities between 1 pm and 7 pm on Monday, perhaps the wettest day of a week that is NOT going to be very wet. (yes, we DO need the rain. We are in a drought - haven't forgotten. As I rant and rave about the weather I would be remiss not to remind all of us that the Drought of '09 is going to get considerable worse before it gets better).

A Tale of Two Months. The top map shows total estimated rainfall for August. The bottom map (same scale) shows September rainfall, to date. From 5-7" last month to a whopping .01" so far in September, as if Mother Nature just turned off the spigot. September does tend to be drier than the summer months (as winds turn more to the west and northwest) but this is ridiculous!

Friday, September 18, 2009

It's the Same!

I feel a little like Steve Martin, who plays a hopelessly happy, glib weather-joker for a TV station in Los Angeles in one of my all-time favorite movies ever made, "L.A. Story". One line in particular comes to mind: "it's the same!" He's referring to the weather, of course, day after day of hazy, lazy, smogified sunshine. "It's the same!" In one memorable scene he delivers the line from a swimming pool (he's the one on the raft clutching the microphone with both hands). Everything goes swimmingly, until one morning he wakes up, and the weather is NOT the same. It's pouring - flooding - horrifically stormy. The forecast was dead wrong, and Mr. Martin winds up looking for a job.

It isn't very often that I can stare at the maps, look out the Amish Doppler (window) and shout out, "it's the same!" Today will probably be the 10th day above 80 so far in September. We've had an amazing run of weather - people tell me this is the nicest spell of weather anyone can remember, post-Labor Day. The drought is getting worse (see details below). It hasn't rained all month (unless you count the whopping .01" that fell on the 11th). Another example of All or Nothing. One of the 10 wettest Augusts on record, followed by what will almost certainly be one of the 10 driest Septembers on record. We just careen from one extreme to the next. "Average" weather is a joke - no such thing.

Latest Drought Monitor. Soil moisture in the immediate St. Cloud area is adequate, much better than in the Twin Cities, where moderate/severe drought conditions can be found over the northern suburbs. Moderate drought lingers near Rochester, Alexandria and the Walker/Bemidji area.

Fire Danger, according to the MN DNR. The risk of brushfires is high in the Brainerd - Wadena - Thief River Falls - Crookston area. Be careful out there this weekend, the combination of bright sun, tinder-dry brush, and increasing winds will increase the risk of fire.

A weak bubble of high pressure straddling the Upper Midwest keeps us sunny, hazy and dry into Sunday, the last 2 phenomenal, August-like days in sight. Low 80s are possible each day - if clouds stream in faster tomorrow the mercury could hold in the upper 70s, but both days of the weekend look pretty phenomenal (considering it could be SNOWING up north with FROST into central counties!) No, I take nothing for granted.

WRF/NMM Model for 7 pm Monday. This shows predicted rainfall from 1 pm to 7 pm Monday, the best chance of heavy showers (.50"+ amounts) over southwestern and south central counties of Minnesota.

Showers arrive late Sunday night and Monday, with showery rains lingering into the first half of next week as a storm "cuts-off", stalls over the central Plains. We'll be on the fringe of this next weather-maker, but a few hours of showers are possible each day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Drier air wraps into this dying storm's circulation the latter half of next week, meaning more sun and fewer showers. Eventually a bigger storm will wind up over the Great Lakes, with a broad shield of rain approaching from the east by next weekend. Most of the rain will stay over Wisconsin, which is too bad, considering how dry it's gotten out there. The GFS 15 Day Model keeps us warmer than average through the first 2 or 3 days of October. After that: all days are off.

Arctic Sea Ice Melt 3rd Greatest on Record. The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Thursday that the Arctic sea ice reached its annual low last week. Ice extended just shy of 2 million square miles. That is 620,000 square miles less than the 30-year average. The complete article is here.

Modis, high-res NASA Satellite Image of the Twin Cities area. It's pretty easy to see the Mississippi River, Lake Lake Minnetonka just left of center, the St. Croix River marking the boundary with Wisconsin. This is 250 meter imagery taken from a low-orbiting satellite passing 225 miles above the Midwest a couple times daily. For the very latest imagery click here. The imagery is really quite amazing - you can see small scale features that don't show up on the usual (GOES) weather satellites, which are positioned 22,300 miles above the equator. It's the highest resolution imagery I've found on-line, definitely bookmark-worthy!

Paul's Outlook for the Twin Cities

Today: Hazy sun, fantastic, August-like weather hangs on. Winds: S 5-15. High: 82

Tonight: Mostly clear, mild for late September. Low: 58

Sunday: Hazy sun, then increasing PM clouds - dry during the daylight hours. High: 81

Monday: More clouds, unsettled, growing chance of showers. High: 72

Tuesday: More clouds than sun, a few showers in the area. High: 70

Wednesday: Still damp, partly sunny with a passing shower or two. High: 70

Thursday: Mix of clouds and sun, seasonable temperatures. High: 69

Friday: Ample sun, getting nicer again. High: near 70