Saturday, August 28, 2010

Getting Close To Record Territory

Landfall? The ECMWF (European) model brings Hurricane Fiona into coastal Georgia or the Carolinas between September 6-7. That's a long way off - the models are fairly unreliable this far out, but it's the first time this season that computer simulations have brought a land-falling hurricane into the USA. Stay tuned as we update the forecast, as newer (more reliable) data arrives.

Another Solution. The GFS may be more realistic - keeping Fiona within a couple hundred miles of the east coast, hinting at a scare, but no direct landfall. The ECMWF has a reputation as a better model than the GFS - it'll be interesting to see which model has the right idea. Residents of the southeastern USA are probably hoping & praying that the GFS model is on the right track.
Significant Severe Weather Events. Data from SPC from 1980 to 2006 shows the most intense tornado tracks (in red - notice how most of the tracks are from southwest toward the northeast). Major hail storms are in green, severe straight-line wind damage shows up as blue dots. Check out the data for yourself here.

Severe Trends. 2010 has been a wild year, at least report 693 severe storm reports in Minnesota with 123 tornadoes. This year has been something of an aberration, but as you can see the trend has been for more numerous severe storm reports since the mid 90s. Tornado alley may, in fact, be shifting northward with a warming climate.

"Fair-Cam." Click here to see the Star Tribune's live webcam(s) - you get a great overview (in realtime) of what's going on at the Minnesota State Fair. You may even spot someone you recognize!

Saturday Sizzle. Sunshine was the rule statewide, winds gusted as high as 30 mph. in the Twin Cities and St. Cloud. Highs ranged from 72 at Grand Marais to 88 at St. Cloud and Redwood Falls, a toasty 89 in the Twin Cities, 12 degrees above average for Aug. 28, just 5 degrees shy of a record.

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

Today: Bright sun, windy and humid. Shades of mid July. Winds: S 15-30. High: 90

Sunday night: Clear, warm and muggy. Low: 70

Monday: Sweltering sunshine, uncomfortably humid - still windy with near-record warmth. High: 92

Tuesday: Unsettled and cooler with showers, possible thunder. High: 83

Wednesday: Some sun early, then increasing clouds with another round of showers late. High: 78

Thursday: Showers, possibly T-storms, humid again. High: 81

Friday: Windy, turning cooler & less humid with rapid clearing. High: 78

Saturday: Gusty winds early, getting sunnier with less wind later in the day. High: 75

Sunday (Sept. 5). Mostly sunny with less wind. High: 78

Labor Day: Mostly cloudy with showers and a few T-storms possible. High: near 80

89 (officially) on Saturday. Not bad, considering we've lost 2 hours and 11 minutes of daylight since the Summer Solstice on June 21. It felt tolerable out there because dew point temperatures were in the low 60s - a stiff south wind also helped to deflect some of the heat. Expect a hot wind to resume again today (more whitecaps on the lake by afternoon) and temperatures should hit 90 across much of central and southern Minnesota. Monday may be a few degrees hotter than that (low 90s LIKELY) - and that isn't too hard to believe. The hottest weather often comes immediately before a cool frontal passage, as the core of the hot air surges northward. Factor in a dew point in the mid to upper 60s Monday afternoon and it may feel as hot as 95-100 in the shade. Yep, pretty stinking hot for the last few days of August.

Many towns will experience up to 6 consecutive days of dry weather in a row, potentially the longest stretch of rain-free weather all summer. I did a rough calculation which showed a total of 41 days with some rain since June 1, 2010. From mid June through early August it seemed like we were experiencing a severe weather outbreak somewhere in Minnesota just about every other day.

Showers and a few embedded T-storms sweep across the state Tuesday, we cool off a bit by Wednesday - a second wave of low pressure rippling along that same front (lurking just to our south) may spark another surge of showers late Wednesday and Wednesday night, latest guidance hinting at a few showers and storms lingering into Thursday. All the models are now hinting at a significant cool frontal passage late in the week, setting the stage for a noticeable drop in temperature and humidity Friday & Saturday, with high pressure coaxing cool sun out of our sky much of Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Although confidence levels aren't very high, there's at least a chance of a few showers and storms returning by Labor Day Monday. The models are still flip-flopping, expect more changes in the all-important holiday weekend forecast, but right now it doesn't look as wet as it did a couple days ago.

Enjoy today's blue sky and 90-degree heat - Monday will be bring back memories of early July's heat and humidity, but it should be short-lived. We've lost too much daylight, nights are too long now - too much cool air brewing over Canada for any sweltering heat to linger for long.

Hurricane Danielle. The midday visible satellite image showed Danielle swirling over the mid Atlantic, veering north, away from Bermuda and the eastern seaboard of the US.

Wildfire Season. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from eastern Washington state, Idaho and Montana - lightning from late-day T-storms sparking more fires. USA Today has a good overview of the fire threat here.

2010 To Be One Of The Hottest Years On Record. National Geographic has a good overview of what is turning into another record year - the first half of 2010 ran 1.2 F warmer than average worldwide. 2005 has the record as the hottest year ever recorded, but 2010 will almost certainly be in the top 3 or 4 hottest ever.

World Simmers In Hottest Year So Far. 2010 is running a fraction of a degree hotter than 1998, when the most severe El Nino warming of the Pacific Ocean was ever observed. The record heat this year may be a combination of El Nino (which weakened during early spring) and climate change. Although no single event, drought or storm can be linked to a warming atmosphere, the year we're experiencing, droughts in Australia, Thailand, the U.K., Israel and Russia, coupled with extreme flooding from India and Pakistan to China - is consistent with climate change theory - a tendency toward hotter, drier weather overall, punctuated by outbreaks of extreme rain and flooding. Reuters has the story here.

* Seattle Will Become An Even Hotter Destination. Could Seattle weather look more like L.A. weather within a generation? Click here for more information on the transformations already underway across the Pacific Northwest.

* Is Climate Change Behind Extreme Weather? Residents of Edmund, outside Oklahoma City, are attempting to connect the dots. Natural fluctuations or symptoms of a larger trend? The story is here.

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