Today: Partly cloudy and comfortable. Winds: North 10-15. High: 73
Wednesday night: Mostly clear and cool for early June. Low: 56
Thursday: Sun much of the day, lukewarm. Showers and T-storms arrive Thursday night. High: 77
Friday: A mix of clouds and sun, probably dry during the daylight hours. High: 78
Saturday: Unsettled with intervals of sun, a few T-storms in the area (but no all-day rain expected). High: 76
Sunday: Plenty of sun, pleasant (PM showers expected up north). High: 75
Monday: More clouds than sun, a lingering shower or T-shower. High: 77
Tuesday: Partly sunny, a drier day statewide. High: 73
Tuesday Almanac. 80s were commonplace out ahead of an eastbound cool front, one that sparked strong/severe storms over far southern Minnesota. MSP International Airport picked up .05" of rain, but Eden Prairie (southwest suburbs of the Twin Cities) saw a respectable .31" of rain, .37" at Rochester.
"Paul, I'm planning a HUGE outdoor wedding, a few hundred of my closest friends and family members. We're having the blessed event in June! Will I be ok?" (Insert long, soulful sigh here). June is our wettest month of the year, on average, with nearly 4" of rain. It's also the month where severe storms peak - the highest probability of hail, flooding and isolated tornadoes. Other than that, no worries. If you have a grad party, wedding or other major outdoor event coming up this month do yourself (and your guests) a big favor: rent the tent. If you don't you're painting a big bulls-eye over your yard, positively inviting atmospheric retribution.
Hail & High Water. This is what the Doppler radar looked like around 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, a swarm of strong/severe storms pushing across far southern Minnesota, the most torrential rains staying south of the Minnesota River. Warnings were issued for far south central MN for large hail and winds gusting over 60 mph. There was a report of a funnel cloud sighting over Rice county, near Lonsdale - see the severe weather reports from the NWS below. "Drifts of hail" were reported along Highway 169 near Mankato! See all the severe storm details below.
Yesterday's fickle front is pushing south of Minnesota, the south metro saw torrential rains, a week's worth of rain in 1-3 hours in some towns.
An estimated 3 out 4 tornado warnings turn out to be false alarms - intense rotation on Doppler radar fails to spin up an actual tornado. Radar technology is fine, but there is still no substitute for law enforcement and SKYWARN spotters on the ground, confirming that rotation is producing an actual tornado. Cool sun today gives way to more T-showers Thursday night and a partly-thundery weekend.
Tuesday was fairly volatile: very heavy thunderstorms rumbled across the southern quarter of Minnesota - a few severe storm warnings were issued near the Iowa border for wind gusts over 60 mph and large hail. As I mentioned in the (print) column above, there was a brief funnel sighting in Rice county - no confirmation that a tornado ever touched down near St. Peter. So as of June 1 we are still tornado-free in Minnesota, which is a bit unusual. I'm not complaining, btw - we've had an extraordinary spring, probably the warmest since modern-day records were started up in 1891. A spring we'll be telling our grandkids about some day.
Get ready for a fairly active week of weather, the core of the jet stream, the main storm track (highway for storms) blowing almost directly overhead, meaning rapid weather changes, and episodes of showers/storms. We salvage a pretty nice Wednesday as a weak, fleeting bubble of high pressure passes overhead, highs ranging from upper 60s (north) to low and mid 70s far south. Plan on blue sky with a nice drop in humidity, north winds blowing at 10-15 mph.
The next chance of showers/T-storms arrives late Thursday, another spirited round of showers and storms Saturday (although I do not expect an all-day rain-out). No cause for panic - at least not yet. This time of year, the summer weather season, just about the only thing that can produce an all-day rain is if and when a front runs out of gas and stalls out directly overhead, which seems unlikely looking out the next week. Temperatures will be closer to average (highs in the mid/upper 70s), I don't see any reruns of extreme heat (or humidity) looking out 7-10 days. The sun should be out much of Sunday, but a nagging whirlpool of chilly air aloft (one of those 'dang "upper level disturbances") may spark a few PM instability showers, especially up north Sunday. Have a plan B. Always good to have a plan B.
Tornado Pose. I have never seen a nearly stationary tornado - it almost appeared as if this Colorado tornado was posing for the cameras. A warning was in effect for nearly 5 hours - only some minor power line damage, no injuries (it hit prairie and pastureland). The epic footage from Severe Storm chaser Andy Gabrielson is here. Amazing.
Tropical Storm Alex? Tropical Storm Agatha formed over warm Pacific waters, swamped Guatemala with some 10-20" of rain, killing at least 150, leaving more than 150,000 homeless. The disturbance crossed Central America and re-intensified over the Bay of Campeche off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico. According to NHC there is a less than 10% chance this tropical wave will strengthen into the first tropical storm of the season in the Gulf of Mexico, if sustained winds top 39 mph. we'll have Tropical Storm Alex - just what residents of the Gulf want to see at this point in time. More from NHC here.
Tracking The Spill. NOAA is using the "Hurricane Hunter" reconnaisance aircraft to monitor the movement of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Bottom line: it's farther south than previously thought, just 75-100 miles west of Key West, Florida, already swept up in the Loop Current. The story is here.
Fast-Forward: 2009 Hurricane Season. NASA has put together a 4:00 animation showing the 2009 hurricane season - pretty cool. The link is here.
No Fishing Zone. NOAA reports that 26% of the Gulf of Mexico is closed to fishing because of the spreading oil spill. The latest details are here.
Rapping Weather Dude. Just when you thought you'd seen everything - now this. KBTV-TV meteorologist (?) Nick Kosir who predicts the weather down in Port Arthur, Texas decided to funk up the morning weather report, give Texans another reason to stagger out of bed. One of the more bizarre weather reports you'll ever see on the tube is here.
PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TWIN CITIES/CHANHASSEN MN
442 PM CDT TUE JUN 01 2010
..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON...
..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE....
1150 AM HAIL NICOLLET 44.28N 94.19W
06/01/2010 M0.75 INCH NICOLLET MN TRAINED SPOTTER
1204 PM HAIL 2 NW MANKATO 44.19N 94.02W
06/01/2010 M1.00 INCH NICOLLET MN LAW ENFORCEMENT
1205 PM HAIL 5 N MANKATO 44.24N 93.99W
06/01/2010 M0.50 INCH BLUE EARTH MN LAW ENFORCEMENT
HAIL WAS REPORTED IN DRIFTS ALONG HIGHWAY 169 FOR SOME
0115 PM TSTM WND DMG GRANADA 43.69N 94.35W
06/01/2010 MARTIN MN POST OFFICE
CITY HALL FLAG POLE BENT IN HALF
0123 PM TSTM WND GST FAIRMONT 43.64N 94.46W
06/01/2010 M60.00 MPH MARTIN MN ASOS
0123 PM TSTM WND DMG FAIRMONT 43.64N 94.46W
06/01/2010 MARTIN MN LAW ENFORCEMENT
REPORT FROM FAIRMONT OF SOME TREES DOWN
0148 PM HAIL 4 NE NORTH MANKATO 44.22N 93.97W
06/01/2010 M0.75 INCH BLUE EARTH MN BROADCAST MEDIA
0200 PM HAIL BLOOMINGTON 44.83N 93.32W
06/01/2010 M0.50 INCH HENNEPIN MN TRAINED SPOTTER
AT 86TH STREET AND LYNDALE AVE.
0209 PM HAIL BLOOMINGTON 44.83N 93.32W
06/01/2010 M0.25 INCH HENNEPIN MN TRAINED SPOTTER
AT E 102ND ST. BLOOMINGTON
0210 PM HAIL EAGAN 44.82N 93.16W
06/01/2010 M0.50 INCH DAKOTA MN TRAINED SPOTTER
PEA TO MARBLE SIZE AT CR13 AND YANKEE DOODLE ROAD
0211 PM FUNNEL CLOUD 1 E LONSDALE 44.48N 93.41W
06/01/2010 RICE MN TRAINED SPOTTER
TRAINED SPOTTER REPORTS ROTATING WALL CLOUD