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 sniffles...it'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....