Saturday, May 29, 2010

Oil Spills & Hurricanes Don't Mix

Pretty Good Track Record. Thanks to the local NWS for providing a recap of Memorial Day Weather going back to 1900. The hottest Memorial Day? 98 in 1934. The chilliest? A high of 48 in 1992 (I remember that one - the natives were not happy). The wettest? 3.48" in 1942 (don't remember that one). Last year the high was 78 under a partly sunny sky, we salvaged a dry Memorial Day. Measurable rain has been observed only 2 of the last 10 Memorial Days. I think we'll add to our dry streak (5 relatively dry holidays in a row) with dry weather from Alexandria to St. Cloud to the Twin Cities, but a few hours of rain are possible from Bemidji to Duluth to International Falls and Thief River Falls. If you feel like reminiscing, click here to see NWS data for Memorial Days gone by.

Extended Outlook: Uncertain. How will any future tropical storms or hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico impact the growing oil spill? Great question. According to NOAA the oil should not greatly impact the track or severity of any future storms, but the specter of oily waves being pushed inland by a hurricane's storm surge is difficult to even imagine. More details on the implications of an "oilicane" are here.

A Busy Hurricane Season? Once again hurricane researchers are predicting a busier than average summer/fall for hurricanes, based on a variety of factors, including sea surface temperatures, and a weakening El Nino (lighter winds blowing high above the tropics - producing more favorable conditions for T-storms to mutate into tropical depressions, storms and hurricanes. The outlook: 14-23 named tropical storms, 8-14 hurricanes, 3 to 7 of which are forecast to be "major" category 3 or stronger, with sustained winds over 111 mph. More information here.

Hot Stuff. Under a brilliant blue sky the mercury soared to 90 in St. Cloud, 91 at the Twin Cities, 92 in Redwood Falls, temperatures 15 degrees above average for May 29.

Happy Sunday - my wife turns 50 today, and I'm still in the midst of birthday-planning festivities, so I'll have to make today's weather blog short and sweet, which pretty much sums up the forecast. An eastbound cool front arrives later with building clouds and a few passing showers and thundershowers, but it won't be an all-afternoon rain, some towns may escape with NO rain. Expect a cooler day with highs mostly in the 70s, winds shifting around to the west (10-20 mph, with a few gusts over 30 mph. in the vicinity of T-showers). We can't totally rule out a few isolated severe storms, but we don't have all the ingredients for a widespread severe weather outbreak. I expect mostly garden-variety, generic thundershowers, maybe an hour or two of rain for some neighborhoods.

Sunday PM Showers/Storms. The NAM model valid at 6 pm (showing accumulated rainfall from noon to 6 pm) is hinting at some .25+" rainfall amounts as a cool front pushes east, a few locally heavy thunderstorms can't be ruled out.

Drier Memorial Day. Monday looks drier and sunnier over central and southern Minnesota, low humidity levels, light winds blowing from the south/southwest at 5-15 mph. But if your cabin is in the northern third of Minnesota be on the lookout for scattered instability showers, mainly PM hours, highs holding in the 60s north of Brainerd and Crosby.

Monday looks comfortable with ample sun over central and southern counties, but the northern third or so of Minnesota will see a rapid build-up of clouds, and a few (light) showers can't be ruled out, highs holding mostly in the 60s north of Leech Lake. Expect low 70s central counties, mid 70s south of a line from Willmar to the Twin Cities, low humidity, a light breeze blowing from the south/southwest at 5-10 mph, a very nice way to end the 3-day holiday weekend across much of the state.

The chance of rain increases again Tuesday and Wednesday, especially over southern Minnesota, readings mostly in the low 70s with a few hours of showers each day. We should dry out later in the week, the early look at next weekend looks mostly-promising, although it's still way too early to try and get specific.

Hope you can sneak outside today and soak up some lukewarm sun. One word of advise: the earlier in the day you get out onto the lake (or beach/golf course) the better. The weather sours by afternoon, clouds increase from west to east, the latest (NAM) model printing out nearly a quarter inch of rain from mid afternoon into early tonight as the cool front arrives. That's an average, some towns will see virtually nothing, while other towns 10 miles down the road pick up over half an inch of rain falling in under 3-4 hours.

Could be worse - all in all add weather to a long list of things to be thankful for this Memorial Day weekend. Have fun, be careful out there....

Paul's Conservation MN Outlook for the Twin Cities and all of Minnesota.

Today: Morning sun, PM clouds, a growing chance of showers/T-storms. Winds: West 10-20. High: 77

Tonight: Showers and storms taper late, turning cooler. Low: 56

Memorial Day: Plenty of sun, low humidity, very nice. A few PM clouds/showers possible northern third of MN. Winds: S/SW 5-15. High: 76

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy, showers arrive. High: 72

Wednesday: Periods of rain (best chance southern MN). High: 69

Thursday: Sun returns, drier statewide. High: 75

Friday: Partly sunny, showers and T-storms arrive late. High: 78

Saturday: Sunshine most of the day, very pleasant. High: near 80

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