Sunday, August 8, 2010

Excessive Heat Warning (and global temperature records keep falling)

* Combination of heat/humidity will make it feel like 100F in the shade by mid afternoon - take it easy out there today.

* Funnel clouds spotted near Buffalo, in Wright county and near River Falls, WI late Sunday - no reports of touchdowns.

* .95" rain in Champlin in 40 minutes Sunday evening!

* Wind gust to 62 mph. reported at Afton (Washington county) Sunday evening.

* Record-tying 96 in the Twin Cities on Sunday, hottest of the year so far.

* Most refreshing cool front in over 2 months should arrive by Sunday. A taste of early September is 6 days away.

* At least 3-4 more 90-degree days are possible this week.

Threatening Sky. This was the view from Tonka Bay around 8:15 pm Sunday, as strong thunderstorms swept into the area, moving from north to south, producing torrential rain, small hail and wind gusts to 50 mph.

Direct Hit. The tornado that touched down on Wilkin county, Minnesota Saturday evening passed directly in front of storm chaser Andy Gabrielson from Severe Studios. He watched in horror as the cone-shaped tornado crossed the road, moving straight for the only house in sight, which - in the blink of an eye - was reduced to rubble. This was probably an EF-3 or stronger tornado - damage assessment teams from the National Weather Service will make a final determination as early as today. Andy got the entire episode on tape - watch it here. More on the swarm of tornadoes that ripped across North Dakota and Minnesota Saturday from USA Today here.

Sunday Sauna. The high temperature on Sunday reached 91 at St. Cloud, but a record-tying 96 in the Twin Cities, hottest of the year so far. Eau Claire, WI picked up a cool 1.81" of rain.

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

Today: Excessive heat warning. Hot, sticky sunshine. Winds: East 5-10. High: 93 (heat index closer to 100 by mid afternoon).

Tonight: Partly cloudy and muggy. Low: 73

Tuesday: Very humid - widespread T-storms, a few may be severe. High: 88

Wednesday: Partly sunny, risk of an isolated T-storm. High: near 90

Thursday: Plenty of sun, still sauna-like. High: 92

Friday: Mix of clouds and sun. High: 90

Saturday: Unsettled, passing shower or T-storm (much of the day should be dry). High: 85

Sunday: Relief! Bright sun, a HUGE drop in humidity (dew points in the 40s). High: 79

Sick of a growling sky, Doppler-babble, hail & high water? Me too. Seems like we're under some sort of watch or warning or advisory every other day. Welcome to Oklahoma....with lakes.

First, the good news. Because I don't want to bury the weather lead: the first real cool front since late May/early June is on the way for Sunday. That's right - we'll all be breathing a lot easier within 6 days as dew points drop into the 40s - folks up near the Canadian border may even be reaching for sweatshirts by next Sunday or Monday. Something to live for...

In the meantime today will be another semi-broiling, partly-sauna-like summer day with highs in the low 90s and dew points in the low to mid 70s. After a soggy start (from last night's storms) the sun should break through, blue sky the rule through midday and afternoon, any PM storms bubbling up near the Iowa border. We get a break for 24 hours, give or take. Is it me or are we muddling through severe weather just about every other day? It's been a wild summer, we must be closing in on 50 tornadoes in Minnesota so far in 2010, double the normal number for the entire summer season.

Another severe weather outbreak is likely Tuesday, followed by drier weather Wednesday and Thursday, but highs both days should top 90. By the end of the week we may be up to 14 or 15 days above 90 this summer season - which is a couple more than typical for an "average summer" (whatever that is).

Based on "cooling degree day data" from the National Weather Service we've spent about 30% more cooling our homes and offices since June 1 than typical. We've gotten a small taste of the historic heat gripping much of the northern hemisphere this summer - it's been far worse as close as Iowa and Missouri.

The good news: the first genuine cool front in over 2 months will sweep much cooler, drier, cleaner air south of the border - Sunday and Monday will feel like early September as a sweatshirt-worthy airmass pushes southward out of Manitoba. It just rolls off the tongue..
"Cool Front"

I'm up for that. Grin and bear it for a few more days - our atmospheric reward is less than 6 days away.

Funnels in Unlikely Places. This (rare) funnel cloud was spotted near Boca Raton, Florida late Saturday - very unusual to have tornadoes forming over south Florida in early August (usually not enough spin in the atmosphere that far south). The YouTube video clip is here.

* 14 Dead, Thousands Evacuated in Central Europe Floods. The story is here.

2010. The Most Heat Records On Record. According to Jeff Masters at Weather Underground at least 17 countries have set all-time records for heat so far in 2010, as hot as 128F in Pakistan. Only 1 country has set an all-time record low (Guinea). Moscow saw its first 100-degree high on record - at least 5,000 deaths have been blamed on extreme heat across Russia so far this summer. Read his entire post (which is fascinating and eye-opening) here.

* Scientists Say Global Warming is Continuing. This has been the warmest decade (globally) on record, warmer than the 90s, which in turn was warmer than the 80s. The story from AP is here.

* Wildfires Ravaging Swaths of Russia. The situation in Russia is grim, and conditions may get worse before they get better. The story in the New York Times is here.

* Ice Island Four Times Larger Than Manhattan Breaks Off The Peterman Glacier - Greenland. What's bigger than an iceberg? An "ice island". I've never heard that expression before. The project rate of melting of Greenland ice remains a huge wildcard in climate science - the supercomputers do a notoriously lousy job of predicting the rate of ice melt in both Antarctica and Greenland, where most of the world's fresh water is locked up. This is of considerable interest to the billions of people worldwide living within a few feet of sea level. The story is here.

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