Friday, September 10, 2010

Salvaging a Nice Weekend (and a possible link between warmer winters, beetles and brushfires)

* Damp, gray start gives way to some sun later today. West/northwest winds at 10-20 mph.

* Lukewarm sun predicted for much of Sunday, highs well up into the 70s....80 not out of the question.

* No significant rain in sight.

Foggy Season
. Welcome to the foggiest month of the year in Minnesota. The reason for all these lazy clouds? Longer nights, coupled with lingering summer moisture - the temperature has more time to fall to the dew point, saturating the atmosphere near the ground, a 100% relative humidity leading to cloud formation on the ground - a phenomena we know as fog.

Gray North/East - Clearing South/West. This NWS map shows predicted cloud cover at 11 am this morning - fog/drizzle/low clouds lingering over Wisconsin and the northeastern third of Minnesota, the chance of spying the sun increasing the farther south/west you go from the Twin Cities and St. Cloud. Skies should slowly clear from southwest to northeast as the day goes on.

Sweatshirt Weather Up North. Highs may not climb out of the 50s over far northern Minnesota, where low stratus clouds, fog and drizzle may hang on much of the day. South and west of I-94 the sun should be out much of the midday and afternoon, luring highs close to 70, as much as 15 degrees warmer than Duluth and Grand Rapids.

Floods Leave 4 Dead, 3 Missing in Texas. A majority of the flood-related deaths in Texas were motorists trying to cross flooded streets (a growing trend - this is where most people get into trouble, especially at night when it's impossible to accurately estimate the depth of rapidly moving water). The 10"+ rains (and scattered tornadoes, including an EF-2 in downtown Dallas) were spawned by the soggy remains of Tropical Storm Hermine, which came ashore south of Brownsville, before surging north across the state of Texas. More on the flooding woes here.

Hundreds of Thousands Hit By Mexican Flooding. Another day, another 1-in-500-year flood. According to the BBC hundreds of THOUSANDS of Mexican residents have already been evacuated from recent floods, and "the worst may be yet to come."

Rivers of Mud. More amazing footage, this time from Italy's Amalfi coast, where severe flooding has claimed at least one life.

Still Unchecked: Boulder Fire Sparks Climate Change/Beetle Kill Debate. "Warmer winters" has a nice ring for many, but if the temperature doesn't consistently drop to -35 to -40 F beetles can survive and multiply exponentially, damaging and killing trees. An estimated 2 million acres of forestland in Wyoming and Colorado has been killed by beetles in recent years. This provides more potential fuel for fires, similar to the one that has destroyed at least 169 homes in the Boulder area. The story is here.

FEMA: Hundreds of Levees No Longer Reliable. It's no secret that the USA is facing huge infrastructure challenges - hundreds of levees built to mitigate the worst river flooding are no longer reliable, according to FEMA - the greatest risks in Arizona and California. The story from USA Today is here.

Forgettable Friday. Yes, it was mostly-gray out there, limiting highs to 68 in St. Cloud and 71 in the Twin Cities, a few degrees below average. Rainfall ranged from a trace in the Twin Cities (up until 7 pm Friday evening) to .02" in St. Cloud, .10" at Rochester and a third of an inch up at Alexandria.

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

Today: Gray, cloudy start, then partly sunny, breezy and nicer by afternoon. Winds: W/NW 10-20. High: near 70

Saturday night: Partly cloudy - cool. Low: 55

Sunday: Some sun during the morning/midday hours. Clouds increase PM hours with a very slight chance of a shower. Winds: W/SW: 10-15+ High: 76 (80 is not out of the question south/west of the metro area).

Monday: Plenty of sunshine, turning cooler, less humid. High: 68

Tuesday: Mostly-blue sky, still pleasantly cool. High: 67

Wednesday: Clouds increase, PM showers. High: 69

Thursday: Mix of clouds and sun - drying out. High: 68

Friday: Patchy clouds/showers far south - cool sun north. High: 67

* Right now Saturday looks like the nicer, drier day of the September 18-19 weekend with some sun, highs in the upper 60s to near 70. The chance of rain increases Sunday, the 19th.

We made it - another badly needed weekend (getting off to a grim, damp, cloud-cluttered start). But the FORCE is with us, last night's soggy front is pushing east across Wisconsin, winds will swing around to the west to northwest later this morning, punching some holes in our stale cloud deck. A partly sunny sky is possible by afternoon, enough blue sky leaking through for highs in the upper 60s to near 70. The normal high is 73, so we're not too far off the mark.

After a warmer, more humid summer statewide September temperatures are running 3-6 F. cooler across the great state of Minnesota, a southward dip in the jet stream treating us to a few October-like days in the last week. I've seen it so many times: the atmosphere has an uncanny way of "evening things out." Unusually cool spells are (usually) followed by sudden rebounds in the temperature department. I still think we'll see a few more 80s (although the chance of more 90s is dropping off rapidly with each passing day).

The best chance of getting a little wear and tear out of your sunglasses? This afternoon, again Sunday morning. A southbound cool front will spread a smear of clouds across Minnesota Sunday afternoon - a few light showers can't be ruled out, best chance after lunchtime.

Monday and Tuesday should be sunny and comfortably cool, a few degrees below average as more Canadian air pushes south of the border. A wave of low pressure rippling to our south along the periphery of this cooler front may throw up a few showers Wednesday afternoon and night, followed by another clearing trend Thursday into part of Friday. That front will stall just to our south, keeping rain across Iowa, and a few showers may spill over into far southern Minnesota Friday and Saturday, but the sun should be out across central and northern counties later in the week. Looking ahead (venturing out onto that shaky tree-limb) next Sunday (the 19th) looks like the wetter day right now as the front surges northward. Hopefully we'll be able to salvage a decent Saturday.

In the meantime - THIS weekend should work out for most outdoor plans. Fire has scorched at least 169 homes outside Boulder, floods are plaguing much of Texas - a few days ago a decent-size tornado skipped across downtown Dallas! Forecasters are keeping a nervous eye on "Igor", destined to strengthen into a strong hurricane in the coming days. Perspective. All things considered we're in pretty good shape, weather-wise.

Tracking "Igor." Love the hurricane names this year. Every 10 years meteorologists gather in Geneva and literally pick names out of a book - Anglo, Hispanic and French names in the Atlantic and Caribbean basin to reflect all the various cultures impacted by these Texas-size storms. If a hurricane is particularly devastating the name is "retired." There will never be another Andrew, Hugo or Katrina. Igor is forecast to develop into a major hurricane within a few days, prevailing winds PROBABLY keeping the storm out at sea. Map courtesy of Ham Weather.

First Frost - By The Numbers. A few towns up north have already seen their first sub-freezing temperatures of the season, but if this is an average fall season the Twin Cities probably won't see the first frost until the first week of October. The average date at MSP (International Airport) is October 7. To see when your town can expect it's first frost/freeze click here.

"Mountain Waves." The University of Wisconsin meteorology satellite blog has an interesting story on mountain waves, caused by air flowing over the Rockies. This can result in moderate to severe turbulence for flights crossing the mountains at altitudes as high as 40,000 feet. These cloud "streets" shaped by airflow over mountainous terrain show up clearly on the enhanced infrared satellite images - pretty amazing.

More Wind Turbines Needed To Meet Climate Change Target. The UK is hoping to derive 15% of its energy from renewables, solar and wind, by 2020. Today only 3% of the nation's electricity is being generated by wind farms and solar panels. The approval process has bogged down (something similar happening here in the USA). The overall environment for putting up wind farms not as favorable as it was just a few years ago. The story is here.

* Rough Weather and Global Warming - Can One Draw a Connection? Texans are asking a lot of questions - the story here.

No comments:

Post a Comment