Sunday, August 20, 2017

Clouds For The Eclipse Monday? Heaviest Rain Through Tuesday Stays Across Southern Minnesota

Minnesota Eclipse Forecast

Cloud forecast for 1 PM CT Monday. Credit: AerisWeather/Praedictix.

Are you preparing for the partial eclipse here across the state Monday? It looks like we will have to contend with some cloud cover during the time frame of maximum coverage of the sun, which will occur at 1:06 pm in Minneapolis with 83% coverage. The partial eclipse begins at 11:43 am, ending at 2:29 pm.


The best chance of seeing a few breaks in the cloud coverage appears to be across northern Minnesota right now during the 1 PM hour Monday.


Here's what it would look like at maximum coverage across the state of Minnesota. Shadow and Substance has more maps for across the nation if you would like to see how the eclipse will look like in other states/cities.
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No 90s So Far In August 2017


Want to know how cool it really has been so far this August in the Twin Cities? The warmest high that has occurred was 89 - back on the 1st. Yes, we have not hit 90 so far. This is in a month that averages 2.6 days with a high of 90+ (out of the 10.6 we average per year). So, how often does this happen? Since records began back in the 1880s, we have had 26 previous Augusts with no 90s during the month - the most recent back in 2014. The extended forecast (which you can find later in this post) continues to show no 90s in sight, so we easily could end up with the 27th August with no 90s.
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Risk of an Eclipse, But Will We Even See It?
By Paul Douglas

I predict precious little will get done around midday today. For the first time in 99 years a total solar eclipse will track from coast to coast. Will it be visible - or is this the astronomical version of a predicted blizzard that results in a few lonely snow flurries? Insert yawn here.
Even if clouds linger (a good bet over southern counties) skies will darken, and peak eclipse around 1 PM will resemble twilight - an eerie, almost macabre sight.
Public service reminder: clouds won't shield you from the damaging effects of staring at the sun. Only special eclipse glasses or welding goggles are safe.
Skies clear tomorrow (naturally) as a flush of Canadian air drops humidity levels - a rare run of dry weather Tuesday into Friday. A moist southerly flow fuels more showers and T-showers next weekend (naturally) with highs in the upper 70s. We may go through an entire Minnesota State Fair without any obnoxious heat. Mea culpa.
Expect a cool bias into Labor Day, but a run of 80s should return in September. Remember, Minnesota's summers are super-sized now. I'm OK with that.
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Extended Twin Cities Forecast

MONDAY: Clouds, stray T-shower. High 79. Low 60. Chance of precipitation 40%. Wind E 3-8 mph.
TUESDAY: Fresh air! Sunny, breezy and cooler. High 75. Low 56. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 10-15 mph.
WEDNESDAY: Sunny and spectacular. High 73. Low 55. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind NW 7-12 mph.
THURSDAY: Comfortable sun at Day 1 of State Fair. High 76. Low 59. Chance of precipitation 10%. Wind SE 5-10 mph.
FRIDAY: More clouds, a little stickier. High 78. Low 63. Chance of precipitation 20%. Wind SE 7-12 mph.
SATURDAY: Unsettled, few T-storms nearby. High 81. Low 62. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind S 10-15 mph.
SUNDAY: Some sun, nagging thunder threat. High 80. Low 59. Chance of precipitation 50%. Wind SW 7-12 mph.
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This Day in Weather History
August 21st
1918: Minnesota's third deadliest tornado strikes Tyler and destroys the downtown area, leaving 36 dead.
1886: High winds hit Northfield with winds blowing at 60 mph for 20 minutes. Peak gusts up to 75-80 mph are recorded.
1883: The 4th deadliest tornado in Minnesota history hits Rochester. The tornado kills 31 residents and injures 100 more. Appalled by the lack of medical care received by the tornado's victims, Mother Alfred Moes, founder of the Sisters of St. Francis, proposes to build and staff a hospital if Dr. W.W. Mayo will provide medical care. St. Marys Hospital opens in 1889 with 27 beds and eventually grows into the Mayo Clinic.
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Average Temperatures & Precipitation for Minneapolis
August 21st
Average High: 80F (Record: 98F set in 1947)
Average Low: 61F (Record: 44F set in 2004)
Average Precipitation: 0.14" (Record: 3.64" set in 1924)
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
August 21st
Sunrise: 6:22 AM
Sunset: 8:08 PM
*Length Of Day: 13 hours, 46 minutes and 35 seconds
*Daylight Lost Since Yesterday: ~2 minute and 52 seconds

*Next Sunrise At/After 6:30 AM: August 28th (6:30 AM)
*Next Sunset At/Before 8 PM: August 26th (8:00 PM)
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Minnesota Weather Forecast


A few storms are possible Monday, especially across southern Minnesota, with the potential of a few showers across northwestern and north-central Minnesota. Highs will mainly be in the 70s across the state, with the potential of a few areas popping into the 80s.


Temperatures will be slightly below average across most of the state Monday, with temperatures hovering right around to slightly above average across eastern portions of Minnesota.


Enjoy highs in the 80s Monday... as they will be hard to find for the rest of the week. As we head into next week (and the last few days of August) we could see highs attempt to return to the low 80s, but otherwise a very comfortable stretch of weather is ahead temperature-wise.


We are also keeping an eye on the potential of severe weather Monday across southern Minnesota. A Slight Risk of severe weather has been issued by the Storm Prediction Center across parts of far southern Minnesota (including Rochester), with a Marginal Risk stretching north to the Twin Cities. Large hail and damaging winds will be the main threats.


The heaviest rain through the first half of the week will be across southern Minnesota, where some areas could receive up to about an inch of rain. Most of this rain will come through Monday, with a dry Tuesday expected.


Rainfall amounts through a good portion of this week will be light in the Twin Cities - mainly under a quarter inch. As we head into next weekend, however, rainfall looks to be on the increase, and we could see an inch or more of rain total by the time we reach this time next week.
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National Weather Outlook
We'll be watching a stalled front from the Front Range to the Great Lakes Monday, which will finally start pushing south as a cold front late in this day. This could help produce some showers and storms across the region along with a few severe storms across the central U.S., especially from Kansas City and Omaha to the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. Afternoon showers and storms will be possible across parts of the Southeast as southerly winds bring in tropical moisture. Widespread monsoonal storms will be possible across the Southwest, with the greatest potential of flooding rains across parts of central New Mexico. Highs will be in the 90s as far north as areas like St. Louis and New York City.
Cooler than average weather will be observed across parts of the Southwest into the Northern Plains on Monday, where highs could be a good 5-15 degrees below average. Warmer than average weather will be possible from the Great Lakes to the Northeast and in parts of the Northwest, with many other areas hanging within a few degrees of average.

Cloud forecast for 2 PM ET Monday. Credit: AerisWeather/Praedictix.
I know we are all looking forward to the eclipse Monday! Unfortunately, the greatest potential of clouds interfering with viewing the eclipse will be in parts of the Midwest and Southeast, where we could have numerous clouds. However, for areas with the greatest time in totality (areas like southern Illinois and western Kentucky) only scattered clouds are expected.
The heaviest rain through Friday morning is expected across parts of the central U.S. and in southern Florida, where two or more inches of rain may fall. Some pockets of heavy rain will be possible from monsoonal storms in the Southwest as well, especially in Colorado and New Mexico.
Taking a look out into the Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center is watching three areas of interest. The first, in the Caribbean, is the remnants of Harvey, which could reform into a tropical system as it heads toward the Yucatan Peninsula. That system has a 70% chance of reforming into a system over the next five days. The second, an area north of the Dominican Republic, has about a 30% chance of becoming a tropical system over the next five days as the system moves toward the Bahamas and Florida. A third system, further out in the Atlantic, is not expected to become a system over the next five days (only sitting at about a 10% chance) as it continues to deal with dry air and will deal with stronger winds aloft as it continues to move northwest.
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Eclipse Will Change The Weather (For A Few Moments)
So with the sun going dark (in some areas) for a few moments Monday, there will be a little less solar radiation. How will that change the weather? Cliff Mass has more: "(W)hat about temperature?   Major cooling, with some areas cooled as much as 6°C (11°F)...but not over the Northwest, where the signal is about half as strong.   One major reason is that the eclipse hits earlier on the West Coast, when solar radiation is weaker, compared to the mid-day eclipse to the east."
Build A Pinhole Camera To Watch The Eclipse
It might be a little late to get a hold of some eclipse glasses, but you can still make a pinhole camera. Popular Science tells you how: "Making a pinhole camera can be as simple as punching a hole in a piece of paper: The sun projects through the gap to throw an image onto another surface (like a second sheet of paper). By adjusting the position of the pinhole, you can focus the image, although you can't exactly get an HD picture. Turning a cardboard box that fits over your head into a pinhole projector will reduce light interference and give you a better closeup, but that's not an experience you can share with your friends." (Image: M. Druckmüller, NASA)
Enough Corn For The Corn Palace
Good news! With recent rains, the Corn Palace in South Dakota will be able to redecorate their murals. More from Inforum: "A summer scare for Mitchell's top tourist destination was narrowly avoided.  Despite an excessively dry summer, Corn Palace Director Scott Schmidt said the city will have enough corn to decorate the nine corn murals surrounding the World's Only Corn Palace. While the city voluntarily skipped redecoration of the murals in 2016, it hadn't faced a drought scare since 2012. And with approximately 275,000 ears of corn needed for the building, coupled with the dilapidation of the 2-year-old murals adorning the building, Schmidt was relieved when a recent rain saved the day."
Drought Taking Longer To Recover From
A new NASA study shows that it is taking longer to recover from drought across the world. More from NASA: "As global temperatures continue to rise, droughts are expected to become more frequent and severe in many regions during this century. A new study with NASA participation finds that land ecosystems took progressively longer to recover from droughts in the 20th century, and incomplete drought recovery may become the new normal in some areas, possibly leading to tree death and increased emissions of greenhouse gases."
Millions Without Food In Ethiopia
Drought and flash floods in Ethiopia have led to a major food shortage in the country. More from the Independent: "Millions of people in Ethiopia require “immediate life-saving intervention” after a severe drought and major flash floods have devastated livestock and crops, the United Nations has warned.  At least 7.8 million people have been receiving emergency food aid since April, up from 5.6 million at the start of the year, but a further 700,000 people in the country’s Somali region did not receive supplies “due to resource constraints” and they are now feared to be on the brink of starvation."
Fewer Apples In Michigan This Year Due To Frost, Drought
Those in Michigan will be able to get apples earlier than average this season, but expect there to be less of them. More from the Detroit Free Press: "While apples, one of Michigan's most valuable fruit crops, may be early, don’t expect a bushel buster of a crop this year. Because of frost and drought damage, according to Fruit Growers News, the Michigan crop is expected 20 million bushels. That estimate is lower than the 24-million-bushel average according to the Michigan Apple Committee."
Growing Virtual Crops To Help Farmers
Do you want fast-growing or drought-resistant crops? Scientists are trying to come up with that... by growing them virtually. More from Scientific American: "What if farmers could grow sugarcane in a matter of seconds, not days or weeks? Scientists are doing just that. Of course, these crops are not sprouting from soil. Instead they flourish on a computer screen.  Digital plants like these are part of a new movement in agricultural science called “in silico,” where researchers design highly accurate, computer-simulated crops to help speed up selective breeding, in which plants are chosen and replanted to amplify their desirable traits. Scientists believe the future of farming is not just in fields, but in graphics, too."
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Thanks for checking in and have a great Monday! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter (@dkayserwx) and like me on Facebook (Meteorologist D.J. Kayser)!
 - D.J. Kayser
http://apps.startribune.com/blogs/user_images/weathrlver_1496507474_NEW.png

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Spotty T-Storms Sunday; Risk of an Eclipse Monday

Eclipse Play-By-Play
"meteorologist Mark Elliot goes through a simulation of experiencing the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 from the perspective of an observer on the ground. As a science editor for Mashable, I know the ins and outs of what causes an eclipse, and how dark it will get if you are in the path of totality, which on Monday will cut a narrow swath from Oregon to South Carolina. However, even I was impressed by how otherworldly the sky will appear at the time of the total solar eclipse, and how many intricate details will be revealed, about the moon and the sun, during a several-minute period on Monday. So, before looking up — with proper eyewear protection — on Monday, take a look at this clip first. And get psyched."
Great American Eclipse - Solar Eclipse Monday
WHY GO TO THE PATH OF TOTALITY? On Aug. 21, 2017, every square inch of the USA will experience a solar eclipse. In most places, the eclipse will be partial--that is, the Moon will cross the sun off-center leaving only a crescent-shaped portion of the solar disk exposed. Is it really worth the trip to the path of totality when you can see most of the sun covered from the comfort of your own home? Pulitzer prize winner Annie Dillard witnessed both types of eclipse in 1979, and her comparison might help you make up your mind: "A partial eclipse is very interesting. It bears almost no relation to a total eclipse. Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him, or as flying in an airplane does to falling out of an airplane." During the minutes of totality, the whole world changes. Saying that day turns into night barely scratches the surface of it. The shadow of the Moon lances down to Earth from a quarter million miles away. On one end is you; on the other end is a million square miles of dusty lunar terrain. You're connected, and you can feel the cold.
((Image Credit & Copyright: Tunç Tezel (TWAN), Alkim Ün via SpaceWeather.com)
 
Total Solar Eclipse Interactive Map
Want to know the timing of the solar eclipse across the country? Here's a great interactive map from NOAA that can help! For example, the green marker near Hopkinsville, KY shows the point of "Greatest Eclipse" with the total eclipse lasting 2minutes and 40seconds and the maximum eclipse occurring at 18:25 UTC or 1:25pm CDT.
Cloud Forecast: Midday Monday
Here's the cloud forecast for midday Monday, which shows a blob of clouds over the Central US. Unfortunately, there may be cloud issues in the Central US for folks trying to catch the total solar eclipse there. Stay tuned...
"The car-traffic apocalypse of the total solar eclipse has begun"
The total solar eclipse of August 21 is almost upon the US. Approximately 7.4 million Americans may travel to the path of totality, where the moon's darkest shadow will cut across the country. But this mass migration may overwhelm small towns and cities with record tourism — and choke key roadways with gridlock traffic. That's according to an analysis by Michael Zeiler, a cartographer at the mapping data and technology company Esri, and an eclipse chaser of 26 years. "People should not casually expect to drive down on the morning of the eclipse," Zeiler told Business Insider. In Oregon, which will be the first US state to see the moon blot out the sun, it seems the mass influx of vehicles for the eclipse may have already begun. A video taken on Wednesday by a frustrated-sounding central Oregon resident, which KAPP-KVEW Local News posted to its Facbook page, shows a line of cars that stretches for all 4 minutes and 32 seconds of the video, and for about 4 miles of roadway. "This is all heading into Prineville on a Wednesday, all the way up the mountain," she said in the video, which she recorded around 11:32 a.m. PDT. "There is no accident. This is all for the lovely eclipse that is happening, and everyone trying to get into their camping spots." She added: "Luckily, I'm heading the other direction. ... The cars next to us are going roughly 5 miles per hour, if not completely stopped."
(Image credit: Shutterstock via BusinessInsider)
 

"Soul-crushing traffic may plague the total solar eclipse — these maps reveal the worst choke points"

Monday's total solar eclipse will be the first to slice across the US in 99 years, inspiring many Americans to pack up the car and drive to totality: the path of the moon's darkest shadow. In fact, up to 7.4 million people may journey to the 70-mile-wide, 2,800-mile-long track where the moon will block the sun and reveal the star's wispy corona. That's according to Michael Zeiler, a cartographer at Esri, a mapping data and technology company. Zeiler has anticipated this moment since he started chasing eclipses 26 years ago. He has spent the past few years gathering data, plotting maps of the eclipse (and its surprising ramifications), and uploading them to his website, GreatAmericanEclipse.com. Zeiler considers his "driveshed" maps some of his favorites. Like watershed maps that show how brooks, streams, and rivers move toward an ocean, his version shows where vehicles are most likely to flow toward a viewing location. "I thought about about every populated point in the United States, and I asked the data: What is the quickest drive to totality?" Zeiler told Business Insider. "I discovered there's going to be about one or two dozen traffic-congestion points that are going to be particularly severe." Here are the 12 biggest drivesheds Zeiler has identified, the cities they center on, and — by extension — the places most likely to be choked with gridlock traffic.


 
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Tornadoes in Southwest Minnesota Friday Evening
A line of strong to severe thunderstorms developed Friday evening across eastern South Dakota and dropped southeast into Southwest Minnesota with a number of large hail and wind damage reports. There was even a report of a tornado, which was caught and camera and shared to the @NWSSiouxFalls. This particular tornado reportedly destroyed a hog barn.
 
Tornado Damage and Large Hail
The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, SD confirmed 4 tornadoes on Friday evening. Here are some images from the @NWSSiouxFalls of tornado damage out of Melvin, IA and large hail that fell in Bigelow, MN.
 
 

Storm Report Map From Friday Evening
The storm report map from Friday evening shows large hail and damaging wind reports stretching from eastern South Dakota through SW Minnesota and into NW Iowa.
All 4 Tornadoes Confirmed by NWS Sioux Falls
 
 
 
 

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Severe Threat Sunday and Monday

According to NOAA's SPC, there is a MARGINAL risk of severe weather across the southern part of the state on Sunday. By Monday, the MARGINAL risk of severe weather shifts a little farther south and moves into extreme southern Minnesota.



Simulated Radar Ahead...
Here's the simulated radar from Sunday to Monday night, which shows a few isolated showers/storms trying to develop across the region both days. However, it doesn't appear to be very widespread, so significant rainfall and severe threats should remain fairly minimal.


Rainfall Potential Ahead
The rainfall forecast  through PM Monday shows a better chance of locally heavier rainfall amounts across extreme southern and southeastern Minnesota, where some 0.50" to 0.75"+ amounts can't be ruled out.


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Rainfall Month To Date
It has been a pretty wet month thus far with the Twin Cities seeing 4.53" of rain through August 18th! That is nearly 2" above average for the month! Note that some locations in western Minnesota have seen nearly 7" to 9"+ of rain! So far this year, the Twin Cities has seen 23.43" of liquid precipitation, which is nearly 3" above average. 
Precipitation Year to Date
Here's a look at how much precipitation we've seen so far this year. Note that precipitation amounts are quite a bit higher as you go east into Wisconsin, while precipitation amounts fall considerably as you head west into the Dakotas. La Crosse, WI has seen nearly 31.57" of precipitation this year, which is 9.31" above average! However, Fargo, ND has seen only 10.44" of precipitation this year, which is -4.39" below average, while Minot, ND has seen only 5.33" of precipitation this year, which is 7.27" below average!
 
US Drought Monitor
While much of the state has had appreciative rainfall this month and so far this year, parts of western and northwestern Minnesota are dealing with moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions. According to the US Drought Monitor, 18.26% of the state is considered to be in a moderate drought, which is up from 17.41% last week. Note that 3 months ago, 0.00% of the state was in a moderate drought and only 0.51% was considered to be abnormally dry.

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Beautiful Saturday
Despite seeing a little fog on Saturday morning, it turned out to be an incredible day with mild temps and plenty of sunshine. Note that the average high in the Twin Cities has fallen to 80F, so as we head closer and closer to the Autumnal Equinox (September 22nd @3:02pm), the number of days with extreme heat and high humidity will begin to fade a little bit.
 
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Pollen Forecast

Itchy, sneezy? I tend to get a little more allergic to fall and I notice it more and more starting around State Fair time, which then finally starts to fade as the first frosts of the season start to arrive. With that said, according to pollen.com, the allergy forecast for Minneapolis suggests high to medium-high levels over the next few days. AHHH-CHOOO!!!



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Northern Lights
WOW! Take a look at this image from @UWCIMSS, which shows aurora across Canada! This image was captured Friday evening from space!
 
Northern Lights Forecast Sunday
According to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the aurora forecast for Sunday suggests a fairly active pattern. Note that northern lights could be seen as far south as Vancouver, Great Falls, Pierre, Madison, Lansing, Ottawa, Portland and St. Johns!!
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HARVEY in the Atlantic

The National Hurricane Center is tracking HARVEY in the Atlantic basin, which became the 8th named storm of the 2017 season. This storm will continue to drift west through the Caribbean and eventually toward the Yucatan Peninsula by the early/middle part of next week. 



 Tracking HARVEY

Here's the official track for HARVEY, which shows it briefly down to tropical depression strength before becoming a tropical storm again late weekend. Over the next few days, it should drift towards the Yucatan Peninsula, but stay below hurricane status. Stay tuned...

 
Tracking Harvey

Despite HARVEY dropping down to tropical depression status, some models are still suggesting that HARVEY could become a hurricane over the coming days. Stay tuned...

 
Tracking 92L

The National Hurricane Center is also tracking another wave of energy northeast of HARVEY that has a low chance of tropical formation over the next 5 days. This storm is taking more of a northwesterly track toward the Bahamas and the southeastern part of the U.S.

 
Tracking 92L

Here is the strength forecast for 92L, which suggests that this storm could potentially become a tropical storm and possibly even a hurricane over the next several days.


Tracking 92L

Here are a few different model outputs for 92L as it nears the southeast coast of the U.S.. Note that a few have the storm nearing Florida, while others keep it out to sea. While it is too early to tell exactly what is going to happen yet, it is important to keep an eye on this system as it develops over the next few days.

 
Atlantic Outlook: Next 5 Days
Weather conditions in the Atlantic basin remain fairly active over the next few days. While HARVEY tracks west through the Caribbean, NOAA's NHC will be tracking 2 other waves of energy east of that. Both have a low probability of tropical formation over the next 5 days.

Tracking Kenneth

Kenneth became the 11th named storm of the 2017 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season. As of early Saturday, Kenneth was a tropical storm, but is expected to become 6th hurricane of the season.

 
Tracking Kenneth

Here's the official NHC track for Kenneth, which suggests it becoming a hurricane as early as Sunday. The good news is that this storm looks to remain well out to sea and not impacting any major land masses.

 
Eastern Pacific Outlook: Next 5 Days
Other than Kenneth, the Eastern Pacific looks pretty quiet as of now with no other waves of energy having the potential of tropical development over the next 5 days.
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PRELIMINARY 2017 Tornado Map
It certainly has been a fairly active first half of 2017 with 1247 preliminary tornado reports through August 18th. Note that this is the most tornadoes through August 18th since 2011, when there were 1,715 reports. The map below shows the distribution of the tornadoes so far this year.
PRELIMINARY 2017 Tornado Count
According to NOAA's SPC, the PRELIMINARY 2017 tornado count is 1247 (through August 18th). Note that is the most active year for tornadoes since 2011, when there were 1,715 tornadoes. Keep in mind there was a major tornado outbreak in the Gulf Coast region from April 25-28, 2011 that spawned nearly 500 tornadoes, some of which were deadly. That outbreak is known as the Super Outbreak of 2011 and has gone down in history as one of the biggest, costliest and one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in history.

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National Weather Hazards Ahead...
1.) Heavy rain across portions of the central Plains, the Middle and Upper Mississippi Valley, and the Great Lakes, Mon-Tue, Aug 21-Aug 22.
2.) Severe weather across portions of the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley, Tue, Aug 22.
3.) Heavy rain across portions of the eastern Carolinas, Wed-Thu, Aug 23-Aug 24.
4.) Heavy rain across portions of Florida, Tue-Fri, Aug 22-Aug 25.
5.) Flooding possible across portions of the Central Plains and the Southern Plains.
6.) Slight risk of much above-normal temperatures for portions of the Great Basin, the Northern Plains, the Northern Rockies, California, the Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest, Sun-Fri, Aug 27-Sep 1.
7.) Moderate risk of much above-normal temperatures for portions of the Northern Rockies and the Northern Great Basin, Sun-Tue, Aug 27-Aug 29.
8.) Severe Drought across the Central Plains, the Northern Plains, Hawaii, the Northern Rockies, the Middle Mississippi Valley, California, and the Upper Mississippi Valley.
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"The West Is in the Middle of the Worst Flash Drought in Recent Memory"
"Conditions in the Great Plains are devastating farmers and ranchers. As wildfires blaze across the West, parts of Montana and the Dakotas are experiencing one of the worst droughts in recent memory. With pastures so parched that they can’t support cattle, ranchers are accepting donations of hay from wetter parts of the country and selling their animals and considering taking second jobs to get by. Farmers are also struggling. Crop harvests are a fraction of normal—the estimated yield for durum wheat in North Dakota and Montana, for example, is about half what it was last year. The current catastrophe began as a “flash drought,” a dry period that comes on very quickly. Late spring and early summer are typically pretty soggy in the northern Great Plains—but not this year, says Natalie Umphlett, regional climatologist and interim director of the High Plains Regional Climate Center at the University of Nebraska. If the region doesn’t get enough rain during that critical time, she says, “it’s hard to make that up.”
See more from MotherJones.com HERE:
(Image Credit: Andrew Cullen/High Country News Via Mother Jones)
Rain Needed to End Drought
Exceptional and Extreme drought conditions are in place over parts of Montana and North and South Dakota due to several days/week of hot and dry weather. The image below suggests how much rain would be needed to end the drought, which suggests nearly 6" to 12" or more!


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National Weather Outlook
Here's the weather outlook through the middle/end of next week, which shows somewhat active weather conditions across parts of the central and eastern US. Scattered showers and storms will bring areas of locally heavy rain to some of these locations. Also keep in mind that some of these storms could be strong to severe.

Severe Threats: Sunday & Monday

According to NOAA's SPC, there is a MARGINAL risk of severe storms across parts of the Midwest on Sunday and Monday. Keep in mind that a marginal risk means that while a few storms could be strong to severe, the threat isn't expected to be very widespread. However, there could be areas of locally heavy rainfall where the thunderstorms develop over the next few days.


Excessive Rainfall Potential Sunday & Monday
According to NOAA's WPC, there is a SLIGHT risk of excessive rain on Sunday and Monday, mainly across the Midwest and across parts of the Southwest. With thunderstorms expected to develop in these areas over the next couple of days, areas of localized flooding can't be ruled out.


Localized Heavy Rain Threats
Excessive rainfall will be possible across parts of the Midwest and Southwest over the next few days with some 3" to 5"+ tallies possible across the Midwest and as much as 2" to 4"+ tallies possible in the Southwest.


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Nena Springs Fire - Warm Springs, OR
The Nena Springs Fire in Warm Springs, Oregon is another large wildfire in the Western US that started on Tuesday, August 8th and has grown to more than 66,000 acres! There are nearly 300 people working on this fire, which is 40% contained. The estimated containment date is set for Wednesday, August 23rd


Ongoing Large Wildfires
Here's a look at the current wildfire map across the country. Continued hot and dry weather has helped to spark several wildfires across the Western US. There have even been fires popping up in the Eastern U.S., two of the larger fires are burning in Florida.

National Smoke Analysis

Here's the projected wildfire smoke concentration for midday Sunday, which suggests that smoke from wildfires burning across parts of Wesetern Canada and the Western US could continue to linger around the Northwest, Midwest and the Great Lakes Region. There also appears a very high concentration of smoke from fires burning across the Central Canada near the Hudson Bay. If you are in these areas, air quality could be a little poor, but these areas may also be enjoying very interesting looking sunrises/sunsets, which tend to look hazy or reddish-orange.


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I'm Skeptical About This So-Called "Solar Eclipse"
By Paul Douglas

Eclipse-hype is everywhere, but it may all be one big hoax. This alleged "moon-shadow" is probably just a natural cycle. Astronomers are playing it up for the grant money. How do we know scientists aren't getting a kick-back? I mean, all those hotels and restaurants from Oregon to Missouri to South Carolina stand to make a killing! Smells like fake news to me.

Just in case they're right, be sure not to stare at the sun on Monday. There are no nerve endings in your eye's retinas. You won't feel actual pain - you'll just go blind.

Latest weather models are a tad more optimistic about the weather on Monday. The best chance of seeing the (so-called) eclipse will come over central & northern Minnesota. Clouds and showers may overspread southern counties by afternoon. Fingers crossed.

Skies clear Tuesday as cooler, cleaner, thunder-free Canadian air drains south of the border. The first day of the State Fair should bring low 70s and comfortable dew points, but thundershowers return next weekend.

Wait, the total eclipse passes over Nashville, where Al Gore lives? I rest my case.
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Extended Forecast
SUNDAY: Warm sun, stray t-storm. Winds: SW 7-12. High: 84
SUNDAY NIGHT: Chance for a few t-storms. Winds: W 5. Low: 63.
MONDAY: Few T-storms, especially in southern MN. Risk of an eclipse. Winds: E 5-10. High: 80.
TUESDAY: Clearing, breezy and less humid. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 59. High: 76.
WEDNESDAY: Sunny & pleasant. Less wind. Winds: NW 7-12. Wake-up: 57. High: 75.
THURSDAY: Mix of clouds and sun, comfortable. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 56. High: 75.
FRIDAY: Partly sunny. T-storm possible late. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 61. High: 77.
SATURDAY: Scattered showers and storms. Winds: SE 7-12. Wake-up: 61. High: 77.
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This Day in Weather History
August 20th
1904: Both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul are hit by tornadoes, producing the highest official wind ever recorded in Minnesota over one minute (110 mph in St. Paul).
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Average High/Low for Minneapolis
August 20th
Average High: 80F (Record: 97F set in 1972)
Average Low: 62F (Record: 40F set in 1950)
Record Rainfall: 2.23" set in 1891
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Sunrise/Sunset Times for Minneapolis
August 20th
Sunrise: 6:21am
Sunset: 8:10pm
Hours of Daylight: 13hours & 49mins
Daylight LOST since yesterday: ~2 minutes and 51 seconds
Daylight LOST since summer solstice (June 20th): ~1 hours & 48 minutes
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Moon Phase for August 20th at Midnight
0.5 Days Before New Moon
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Weather Outlook For Sunday
Sunday will be a fairly warm and sticky day across the region with temperatures warming into the upper 70s and lower/middle 80s. Note that ahead of the front, dewpoints will warm into the mid/upper 60s, which will feel quite humid compared to what we've been dealing with so far this month. 

Weather Outlook For Sunday

A frontal boundary moving through the state will be responsible for a wind shift through the day. Winds ahead of the front will be from the SSW, while winds behind the front will switch to the WNW. This wind shift will help to bring in less humid air as we head into the early part of the week.

 
Weather Outlook For Sunday

While rain and thunder threats don't look to be all that impressive, there could be a few isolated showers and storms during the afternoon, some of which could be a little on the strong to severe side across southern Minnesota. 

 
UV Index for Sunday - HIGH
The UV Index for Sunday will be HIGH, which means that it will only 20 to 30 minutes or less to burn unprotected skin. With that said, if you are planning on spending any extended length of time outside, make sure you wear appropriate attire and lather on the sun block!
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Minneapolis Temperature Outlook
Here's the temperature outlook through September 3rd, which shows temps warming into the low/mid 80s through Monday with some sticky dewpoints. However, temperatures look to get back to the 70s starting Tuesday and could stay there through the early part of September. Keep in mind that the average high in the Twin Cities on August 20th is 80F and falls to 77F by early September. With that said, we could stay below average for a number of days as we head through the end of August and the early part of September.

6 to 10 Day Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the extended temperature outlook from August 24th to August 28th suggests cooler than average temperatures will settled back in across much of the Midwest and Great Lakes with the coolest spots near the Ohio Valley.

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Extended Temperature Outlook
According to NOAA's CPC, the extended temperature outlook through August 28th shows that a good chunk of the Central and Eastern U.S. will be cooler than average, but warmer than average temps look to continue across the Western U.S..
Extended Temperature Outlook
Here's the extended 850mb temperature anomaly loop into the early part of last week of August. This describes how warm or cold (from average) mid/low level temperatures will be over time. Note that the cooler blues look to move back in across much of the Central and Eastern US, while the warmer reds/oranges look to develop across the Western US once again.
 
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Weather Outlook Ahead
The weather outlook over the next couple of days shows somewhat unsettled weather developing in the Central part of the country through the early week time frame. Keep in mind that some of the storms there could be strong to severe with locally heavy rainfall. The other area that will see areas of heavy rain will be near the Four Corners Region, especially in New Mexico.
5 Day Precipitation Outlook
According to NOAA's WPC, the next several days could produce areas of locally heavy rainfall across the Midwest and the Southwest with some 2" to 4"+ tallies possible. There could also be some 1" to 2"+ tallies possible across the Great Lakes, eastern Carolinas and even across parts of Florida. Keep in mind that with this much rain expected to fall in spots, localized flooding can't be ruled out.
 
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"Forecasters put the total solar eclipse into a weather model and the result is amazing"

The weather wizards at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have added the effects of the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse to one of their newest, highest-resolution computer models. The result is a gorgeously detailed view of how the eclipse will cause a decrease in incoming solar radiation as it crosses the country on Monday, from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast. Scientists at a NOAA laboratory in Boulder, Colorado added the eclipse's path to a computer model known as the "High-Resolution Rapid Refresh" or "HRRR" model. They released a simulation of the eclipse on Thursday, and starting  Saturday, the model will start incorporating the eclipse in its real-time forecasts. In a simulation using the weather on August 4, the researchers found that the eclipse will primarily affect temperatures by cooling a widespread area of the country by up to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Such areas will experience a partial eclipse.  For the 70-mile-wide swath of the nation that will experience a total solar eclipse, the temperature impacts will be more significant, the model projects. Along the path of the full eclipse, the model shows that temperatures will drop between 5 and 12 degrees Fahrenheit.


(Total solar eclipse simulation for incoming solar radiation, showing the blue circle of the eclipse in the central part of the country.IMAGE: NOAA/ESRL)

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"Not Just Blowing Smoke: Satellites Play Vital Role in Spotting, Monitoring Fires"

"Fires, whether naturally occurring or man-made, have substantial impacts on both the landscape and air quality. Fortunately, satellites can detect and monitor fires large and small, and provide data on a range of factors, including location, duration, size, temperature and intensity. Unlike ground-based observation tools, which can yield incomplete information about fires, satellites can detect and monitor fires large and small, and provide data on a range of factors, including location, duration, size, temperature and intensity. Further, satellites can track blazes in near real time, provide data for air quality models and help distinguish the air-quality impact of fires versus those from other sources of pollution."


(This GOES-16 geocolor imagery captured on May 7 shows smoke plumes from several fires burning in the southeastern United States, including the West Mims Fire, the majority of which lies in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. As of May 9, 2017, the fire was estimated at 140, 409 acres. [Note: GOES-16 data are currently experimental and under-going testing and hence should not be used operationally.])
 
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"Study: For parts of the world, perpetual drought is a possibility"

"Last year's record-shattering drought may finally be over for Californians, but a new study suggests that in some parts of the world, drought could become the new normal. The analysis, published Thursday in the journal Nature, found that during the 20th century, droughts took progressively longer for ecosystems to recover from – a grim trend that is predicted to worsen. The 19-person research team was led by Christopher Schwalm, a scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Mass., and received funding from the National Science Foundation and NASA. According to Schwalm, the study uses satellites to estimate gross primary productivity, an indicator of "how much stuff plants synthesize." This data was matched against the researchers' projections, which had been extrapolated as far back as 1901 – well before satellites had been invented – to get a dataset spanning 110 years."

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"VOLCANOES UNDER ANTARCTICA FOUND BY SCIENTISTS, CLIMATE CHANGE COULD TRIGGER ERUPTION"

"Over 90 volcanoes under Antarctic were recently discovered by scientists. The volcanoes, lurking beneath the ice, have scientists wondering about the potential for an eruption. With the highest over 13,000 feet, the network of volcanoes under Antarctica sits quietly about two miles below the surface. Making up the largest volcanic region on Earth, the 91 previously unknown volcanoes stretch 2,100 miles along the western edge of the continent. The team of scientists, led by glacier expert Robert Bingham, fears any eruptions could adversely affect Antarctica’s vast ice sheets, causing them to melt and fall into the sea. The addition of new water into the Antarctic Ocean would certainly result in significantly higher sea levels worldwide, according to Bingham. Yet, the research team has a much bigger concern. Earth science experts have determined that glaciers covered the most active volcano regions in the world, like Alaska and Iceland, during the last ice age. Once the climate changed and the ice receded, the areas became alive with activity."


(Image Credit: Inquisitr)
 
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"NASA: July 2017 Didn't Even Need an El Niño to Tie For Hottest July in Recorded History"

"Good news, everyone! The Earth is still like a car with the windows rolled up, and it doesn’t seem like anyone is coming by with the keys anytime soon. July 2017 is statistically tied with July 2016 for the title of hottest July in 137 years of records, Mashable reported, which is especially concerning because there was no El Niño—a complicated climate cycle in which the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean floods with warmer than usual water, and raises the average temperature across the globe. According to a NASA press release, July 2017 was 1.49 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 baseline average, beating out July 2016 by an incredibly slim margin. El Niño was ongoing in 2016, which means that this year’s July was able to match a predecessor with extra help. Alarmingly, NASA noted “all previous months of July were more than a tenth of a degree cooler.” 


(Image Credit: AP via Gizmodo.com)
 
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"Lessons from the storm: Effects of extreme weather linger more among children and older adults"

"Ruth Bennett woke up at 1 a.m. and looked through the doorway of her independent living apartment in Walker, about 20 miles west of Baton Rouge. It was Aug. 13, 2016, and rain had been pouring down for two days. Bennett was worried about her car flooding. She saw water creeping up to the parking lot, but her car looked safe. She crawled back into bed. Two hours later, one of the employees of Southern Pines Retirement Community was pounding on Bennett's door. Not only had Bennett's car flooded, the facility was surrounded by water. The employee told Bennet to grab what she needed, including her medicine. "In two hours it had come from nothing," Bennett recalled recently. "It was very frightening, especially when you're old." The elderly and children are among the most vulnerable populations to extreme weather events. That's in part because they often do not have the ability to mobilize quickly or on their own, and they're at a greater risk physiologically and psychologically. These trends were noticeable in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."


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