Friday, August 13, 2010

104 Tornado Reports in Minnesota so far in 2010 (!)

What Else - Slight Severe Threat. Yes, SPC has parts of east central and southeast/south central MN and portions of western WI under a "slight risk" of severe storms later today. At this point we have to be close to an all-time record for the most number of days under an SPC risk, perhaps closing in on a record for the most watches/warnings in a given summer. Stay alert - a few stray storms may mutate later this afternoon and evening.

104 tornado reports in Minnesota so far in 2010? Good grief, when did we all move to Oklahoma? Back in 2001 Minnesota saw a record number of tornadoes: 71 in all. 104 so far in 2010? All I can think is that these are individual sightings, many of them of the SAME TORNADO. That's the only thing that would account for such a high (preliminary) number. In addition to 104 tornado reports, SPC confirms 195 reports of large, damaging hail and 290 reports of damaging straight-line winds for a total of 589 severe storm reports in 2010. Incredible. See the data for yourself here.

Hook Echo. Here is the "supercell" thunderstorm that spawned 4 separate tornado sightings just west of Rochester. Earlier a tornadic cell spawned a brief tornado near Mankato, reports of debris near the ground (but no extensive damage).

Wall Cloud. Click here to see YouTube video shot by meteorologist D.J. Kayser from St. Cloud State University (an amazing intern at WeatherNation - we are lucky to have him on the staff!)
NOAA Update. According to the scientists at NOAA in Washington D.C. planet Earth just experienced the second warmest July on record, the warmest January to July period on record (back to 1880). Finland saw an all-time record high (99 F), Moscow hit 102 F, and China's temperatures averaged 2.5 F warmer than normal. More details here.

Prediction: Healthy Baby Boy. WeatherNation meteorologist Gretchen Mischek (one of 7 amazing meteorologists on our staff) just had a baby boy. Archer was born on August 12 (whew, just missed the "13th" stigma) - 7 pounds, 3 ounces - 21" long. Child and Momma are doing just fine. Congratulations to Al an the entire family! Birth announcement below:

Records And More Records. According to Professor Mark Seeley at the University of Minnesota, MSP has set at least 6 all-time records so far in 2010. For the summer we've (endured) at least 200 hours with a dew point > 70 F. - more than any other year except 2004. Read his excellent weekly Minnesota climate summary here.

Am I Missing Something Here? I did a double-take when I looked at the climate information for MSP Friday. A "trace" of snow since June 1? When did it snow after June 1 in the Twin Cities? Say what?

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

Today: Partly sunny and pleasant. Shower/T-storm possible late afternoon/evening hours. Winds: W/SW 8-13. High: 86

Saturday night: Evening showers, possible thunder, then clearing late. Low: 61

Sunday: Taste of September! Morning sun, patchy afternoon clouds, stiff breeze. Winds: NW 10-20 (PM gusts to 25). High: 77

Monday: Plenty of sun, still breezy, still comfortably cool. High: 76

Tuesday: Sun lingers much of the day, a bit warmer. High: 79

Wednesday: Unsettled, more clouds with a few showers, possible thunder. High: 83

Thursday: Intervals of sun, more humid. High: 85

Friday: Seasonably warm, sticky, a few T-storms (best chance north). High: 84

Is it me or is the weather getting stranger and stranger? I feel like we've all been parachuted into Indonesia or Guam. Tropical heat & humidity, interrupted by gangs of ferocious, lightning-spitting, wind-raging thunderstorms, one after another after another.

I've never seen anything like it. It would be simplistic to chalk this up to "climate change", but our increasingly wild, fickle, unpredictable weather is just another piece of the climate puzzle, along with almost daily reports of historic flooding, record-smashing heatwaves, soupy humidity levels, epic wildfires and expansive drought.

Friday was just as crazy - most of us woke up to insane lightning, jumbo puddles and overwhelming humidity levels, it's a little odd WAKING UP to a severe storm watch! The sun came out for a few hours, only to have another round of severe storms rumble into the metro, reports of tornadoes near Hayfield and Kasson, just outside of Rochester. And then evening rolled around, slightly drier, cooler air percolated into town and it actually felt tolerable out there for the first time all week.

So here we are - another desperately-needed weekend, and the news is mostly-good. Today will be the better day for the lake, enough sun for mid 80s (closer to 80 up north), winds blow from the west/southwest at 8-13, dew points in the 60s (moderately humid) with a pretty good chance of late afternoon/evening showers and T-showers, just an hour or two for most towns and lakes. Odds are they WON'T be severe later today. No worries.

Instability Showers. The models are hinting at 1-2 hours of rain, best chance coming during the evening hours - thunder can't be ruled out, but the severe risk has been pushed south/east toward Chicago.

Sunday should feel more like September with more wind (blowing from the west/northwest at 15-20, gusts to 25 at times), dew points dropping into the 50s with afternoon highs holding in the 70s (maybe upper 60s to near 70 up north - perhaps a bit cool for the lake). Quite a transition, considering we were hovering in the low to mid 90s much of the week. Sweet relief is 18-24 hours away.

We get off to a cool, comfortable start next week - sunshine the rule Monday and Tuesday, another chance of showers/storms by Wednesday of next week. Temperatures warm up as the week goes on, back up to "average" the latter half of the week as highs rise into the 80s. Not as stifling as last week - but typical weather for late August.

Ames Aftermath. The YouTube video looks almost biblical - the waters finally starting to recede across central Iowa after 4 consecutive nights of severe thunderstorms unleashed 8-9" of rain.

* Tornado Kills Canadian Motorist in Northwestern North Dakota. This is why you don't want to be in, under or near a vehicle when a tornado is approaching. Another tragic death - a car hurled a quarter mile by a tornado, the story is here.

New Rain Piles on Misery For China Flood Survivors. Flooding in China has killed over 2,000 people so far this year, triggering TENS of billions of dollars of damage across China's 28 provinces and regions. At least 45,000 people have been forced from their homes, and the rain continues to fall. The latest here.

* New China Landslides Kill At Least 24; More Devastation Possible. The news just keeps getting worse for China, the latest here.

Fresh Downpours Hamper Pakistan Flood Relief. Rescue helicopters are grounded, dams are being breached - badly needed aid is not reaching the tens of thousands of flood victims in northwestern Pakistan, where the death toll has gone above 1,600. The latest on the worst flooding in 80 years here.

Russian Fires Forecast Climate Change Threat. Temperatures near the center of continents are spiking much higher than near the coasts (where proximity to ocean water has a moderating effect). Russia is the world's 3rd largest wheat producer, the harvest expected to be down at least 6-7% this year because of historic drought, the worst heat wave on record - resulting in over 600 fires. A fluke or a trend? The story is here.

* Rain Refreshed Moscow, But Wildfires Are Still Burning. A slightly cooler front has pushed into Russia's capital, improving visibility and air quality - but hundreds of fires continue to burn outside the city limits - the story is here.

Tracking Moscow Smoke. The smoke smothering much of Russia has been so dense and thick that it's shown up on U.K. weather satellites. An interesting story on tracking the waves of smoke here.

Environmental Report Predicts Global Warming Will Bring More Days of Extreme Heat. It's not longer a theory, but a reality. Major eastern cities in the USA are already seeing TWICE as many days above 32 C (roughly 90 F) every summer than the long-term rolling average. The story at Voice of America is here.

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