Saturday, July 3, 2010

Getting Better - Drying Out for Evening Fireworks

Gradual Improvement. The 9 am visible satellite shows some breaks in the clouds across central MN - much of the day will be partly sunny, but another round of PM showers/storms can't be ruled out, especially over far southeastern MN and Wisconsin, where you're not quite out of the woods just yet.

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

4th of July: Showers taper with some sun returning, breezy, cooler and less humid. More showers/storms flare up over far southeastern MN by late afternoon/evening. Winds: SW/W 10-15. High: near 80

Sunday night: Dry over central and western MN, slight chance of a stray T-storm over eastern MN and Wisconsin (odds just barely favor dry weather for Twin Cities fireworks displays). Low: 68

Monday: Still humid with intervals of sun in the metro (a few T-storms bubble up over southern MN, including the Twin Cities area). Skies should be partly to mostly sunny across central and northern MN. Winds: E/SE 5-10. High: 83

Tuesday: Unsettled with more T-storms, High: 84

Wednesday: Mostly sunny and pleasant. High: 85

Thursday: Lot's of warm sunshine. High: 83

Friday: T-storms move in - some heavy. High: 81

Saturday: Damp start, then increasingly sunny and dry. High: 83

Sunday: Mostly sunny - very nice. High: 85

Hot Off The Wire. Saturday was memorable, plenty hot - a great day to escape to the lake. Highs ranged from a respectable 83 at Grand Marais to 91 in St. Cloud, 92 in the Twin Cities, Alexandria, and Redwood Falls.

Without even looking at the calendar - merely peering out my rain-splattered window I can tell INSTANTLY that it must be a major holiday. So maybe camping under the stars (?) wasn't such a great idea, after all. An eastbound cool front will leave Minnesota's skies VERY irritable, unstable, capable of very heavy showers and thunderstorms, the best chance of a few hours of hard rain coming during the morning and midday hours. No, it won't be nearly as nice as yesterday, which is pretty much what we've been warning for nearly a week now. Right on schedule, the calendar flips to the 4th, and the skies unleash torrents of rain. Computer models are predicting more than an inch for the south metro, but as much as 2-4" for the northern and western suburbs. That may be exaggerated, but there's little doubt that a soaking storm is likely, the best chance of gulley-gushing, window-rattling thunderstorms from about 6 am until 1 or 2 pm this afternoon.

Looks Like Rain. Here is the NAM/WRF model valid for midday today, showing expected rainfall from breakfast to lunchtime, some 1-3" amounts for much of central and eastern Minnesota.

Looks Like a Holiday. I'm hoping the (normally semi-reliable) NAM/WRF model is experiencing a hiccup - I think the amounts predicted are probably too high, but it probably has the right general idea: the most rain for the northern/western suburbs of the Twin Cities - toward St. Cloud, where some 1-2" amounts are possible by early afternoon. The best chance of a soaking? This morning and midday.

Take deep breaths, try not to hyperventilate - you will NOT be stuck indoors all day. Winds shift around to the southwest by early afternoon - then westerly by late afternoon/evening, a drying breeze, and skies will try to clear, at least partially, over western and central Minnesota as the afternoon wears on. Skies should brighten, the best chance of spying the sun late afternoon and evening, especially north/west of St. Cloud. The Detroit Lakes and Brainerd Lakes area stands a much better chance of salvaging a nice/dry/partly sunny evening than the Twin Cities or Rochester, where storms may linger well into the afternoon. The timing is tricky, but roughly the northwestern half of Minnesota should experience dry weather after about 3 or 4 pm - a dry sky likely for the rocket's red glare around 9:30 pm, when most towns shoot off their stash of fireworks. Heading to the Taste of Minnesota? Take something waterproof - I think it will try to brighten up after the dinner hour in the immediate Twin Cities, but it will still be pretty damp/muddy out there. I wish I had better news for today, but we knew this was coming...

Partly-Acceptable Monday. A stalled front may spark more scattered showers and T-storms over southern Minnesota Monday, the best chance south of the Twin Cities, especially midday and afternoon hours. It won't rain all day, but a few hours of showers can't be ruled out - especially south of the Minnesota River Valley. The farther north you go, the sunnier and drier the weather should be Monday, highs in the upper 70s and low 80s, a light east breeze at 8-13 mph. Great news for Brainerd, Detroit Lakes and Alexandria, so-so news for the Twin Cities, the closer you drive to Iowa the better the chance of leftover puddles.

"What about Monday, more quality time with my crazy uncle?" If you're still up at the cabin, anywhere from Lake Ida to Pelican to Leech and the Whitefish Chain the answer is a resounding NO! Minnetonka, White Bear Lake, Pepin? Not as soggy as today, but a nagging risk of a stray thunderstorm can't be ruled out Monday over the southeastern third of Minnesota, especially south/east of the Twin Cities. Skies should be partly sunny in the metro, but mostly sunny across much of central and northern Minnesota, highs in the upper 70s and low 80s, a light breeze from the east/southeast at 7-12 mph. Not perfect, but better than today.

A few instability storms hang on Tuesday, followed by a midweek clearing trend, a string of sunny, 80-degree days into Thursday. Storms Friday should give way to clearing during the day Saturday, Sunday even sunnier and nicer statewide as a bubble of high pressure drifts overhead. Yes, a fine weekend is shaping up NEXT weekend, but first we have to batten down the hatches, spend a little extra time indoors, especially the first half of today. With a little luck we'll get a break in time for evening fireworks. Hang in there - have a great 4th, in spite of the thundery, thoroughly forgettable start!

Prediction: Hot Dogs. My friend and WeatherNation colleague passed on a culinary nugget. The 4th of July is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year, an estimated 155 MILLION dogs will be consumed today. Fair warning.

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