Monday, May 17, 2010

Warmest January - April Worldwide (and what makes your lake so special?)

This Lake Matters Contest. Conservation Minnesota has an interesting campaign, searching far and wide for stories about the lakes that matter most in our lives. Why are you a fan of your lake? C.M. wants to know which lake matter to you, and why. I'm a fan of Pelican Lake, where we have a little cabin, but frankly, I like 'em all. They all have their own quirks and idiosyncrasies, but they're all unique - irreplaceable. Have a few favorite photos of your lake-of-choice? Send them to Conservation Minnesota and enter their contest. Details here.

Record April. According to NOAA the combined land-sea temperatures made April the warmest ever recorded, worldwide. In addition, January - April combined land-sea temperatures were the warmest on record on planet Earth. I know - I know. Just another conspiracy, the scientists are cooking the books! Can't believe a word of it, right? Glenn Beck (or was it Howard Beale) told me so. Hey, that's good enough for me. Who needs peer-reviewed science when you have all those Exxon-sponsored blogs, talk radio PhD's and arguing talking heads on cable news! The story is here.

Minor Dings. Just a hunch - baseball size hail? Hailstones 3-4" in diameter hit the Earth at nearly 100 mph, capable of causing massive damage to vehicles, windows and rooftops. If you're caught outside in a hailstorm of this magnitude massive head injuries, even death can result. During an average year the local area sees 3 days with hail, closer to 5 "hail days" over far southwestern Minnesota. This hailstorm was reported in Oklahoma late Sunday. More amazing photos of a mega-hailstorm below.

Monday Memories. Almanac data for Monday, highs ranged from a brisk 59 at Grand Marais to a balmy 77 at Redwood Falls and International Falls (!) More Minnesota climate data than you'll know what to do with here.

Remarkable. Monday was extraordinary, weatherwise, and if you missed out on the blue sky and lukewarm breezes, you'll get another chance today. And Wednesday. And Thursday. Possibly much of Friday too. Things get a bit muddled by the weekend, but if you need dry (spectacular) weather for work or play you're in luck, at least for the next 72 hours.

One Week's Worth of Records. From Ham Weather (a division of WeatherNation) you can track records for one week, 2170 in all. The green dots are 24 hour rainfall records, the blue dots record cool maximum temperatures, red dots: record high temperatures - all fairly intuitive. Check out a national, interactive map for yourself by clicking here.

With the exception of a couple of massive, March-like, windblown (boat-sinking...ugh) storms the first week of May, we have been blessed, pampered by an amazingly persistent pattern, one that favored storms passing off well south of Minnesota, bubbles of high pressure continually redeveloping over the Great Lakes, keeping us unusually sunny, mild and dry. This has been the weather story since mid February (!) with few exceptions - can't remember a time when I've seen a pattern this stubborn. Echoes of El Nino? Possibly, but these warm anomalies in the Pacific tend to die off by late spring. Whatever the trigger or cause we have been the beneficiaries of what has been, arguably, the nicest spring in recent memory. Subjective - yes, but I defy you to find another year where we had NO snow - ZERO snow in March and April, and such a lack of severe weather statewide. It has been incredibly quiet, in terms of hail, tornadoes and damaging straight-line winds - we have been on the cool, quiet, wet, but uneventful northern side of the storm track since February. Bizarre, but I'm not complaining. At some point storms will start tracking NORTH of MSP, and that's when the atmospheric fireworks will commence. Not this week.

Warming Trend. Get ready to ditch the light jackets and sweatshirts, low 80s possible by the weekend - in a few days it should look and feel more like mid June. 9 days ago it looked like March, 4 days from now it will feel like June. What a May...

Friday Thunder? Dry weather should prevail through Thursday, but by Friday moisture begins to brush southern Minnesota - we can't rule out a few stray showers or T-storms by Friday, but the bulk of the moisture should pass off south of Minnesota later in the week.

Summerlike Weekend. A southerly wind direct from the (oily) Gulf of Mexico will push the mercury to or above 80 Saturday and Sunday, dew point temperatures rising above 60 - it will start to FEEL like summer with noticeable humidity levels. Although most of the T-storms will probably remain over the Dakotas, far northern and western Minnesota would appear to stand the greatest risk of a few scattered T-storms, best chance late afternoon hours Saturday & Sunday.

The Flood the Media's Radar Missed. Howard Kurtz from the Washington Post makes a few good points in an article here.

Lethal Projectiles. In recent days Oklahoma has been pelted with baseball size hail, resulting in millions of dollars in damage. More damage photos below.
* Glacier Park: The Next 100 Years. The story here.

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

Today: Sunny and warm. Winds: SE 10-15. High: 76

Tuesday night: Clear and quiet. Low: 54

Wednesday: Plenty of sun, still dry. High: 78

Thursday: Partly sunny and balmy. High: 76

Friday: Clouds increase, slight chance of late-day showers/storms. High: 75

Saturday: Intervals of sun, warm and humid. A few T-storms possible far north/west. High: near 80

Sunday: Hazy, warm and sticky - slight chance of thunder late. High: 82

Monday: Still summerlike, warm and muggy - better chance of a T-storm. High: near 80

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